NORAD Tracking Santa a Success
On Christmas Eve the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), a bi-national command of Canadian and U.S. military forces, once again tracked Santa Claus on his Yuletide trip. Using data obtained from a worldwide network of ground-based radar and satellites in space, and with the help of over 400 volunteers, NORAD continued its 49-year tradition of reporting on Santa's progress to millions of children around the world.
Children from all 50 states, 10 Canadian provinces and 3 territories, as well as children in scores of other countries tuned into NORAD's Santa Tracking by surfing the web, writing e-mail and telephoning the NORAD Santa Tracking Center at the Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
As Santa began his journey on Dec 24, NORAD tracked his progress and provided near real-time updates to children around the world. Beginning at 7 a.m. MST, Dec 24, NORAD's tracking data was translated into streaming audio and video updates and posted to the website's radar map. The site was available in French, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese, and English.
Michael Perini, NORAD Director of Public Affairs, said the web site (www.noradsanta.org) received approximately 15 million visits last year and this year's total is expected to be even higher. Final numbers will not be available for several days. NORAD officials said they received nearly 40,000 e-mail messages and more than 30,000 calls on the toll free number (1-877-HiNORAD). CNN carried NORAD's Tracking Santa live, and over 1,500 print and broadcast news stories aired worldwide.
"Media coverage of the operation was unprecedented this year," said Mr. Perini. "In these troubled times, it's essential to remind the children of the world, the importance of the season's message of caring."
NORAD's partners in tracking Santa included: AOL Communications in Dulles, Va; Analytical Graphics Inc. in Malvern, Pa; Globelink International, Etheriel Web Publications, Ampersand Creative in Colorado Springs, Colo; and MCI Government Markets of Vienna, Va.
NORAD is a bi-national military organization of Canada and the United States responsible for providing aerospace warning and defense for both nations.