NORAD Successfully Tracks Santa

By Merrie Schilter-Lowe | NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs | December 25, 2004

PETERSON AFB, Colo - This year 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 radar and satellites in space, and with the help of more than 360 volunteers, NORAD continued its 50th season of reporting on Santa's progress.

Santa began his journey at 5 a.m. MST on Dec. 24. NORAD tracked his progress and provided near real-time updates to millions of children around the world via email, the telephone and via the Internet.

NORAD's tracking data was translated into streaming audio and video updates and posted to the Web's radar map. The site was available in French, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese, and English. .

Michael Perini, NORAD Public Affairs Officer, said "( received 600 million visits and, as of 1 a.m. 25 Dec, more than 50,000 e-mail messages, possibly setting records in both categories."

In addition, NORAD received nearly 60,000 phone calls in a 24-hour period. "We are still analyzing our data so the final numbers won't be available for several weeks," said Perini.

"E-mail messages specifically referencing NORAD were at about 5,000 and the gratitude and well-wishes contained in most attest to the power of this ongoing program," Perini said.

"With our team of Santa helpers, we were able to answer most of the e-mails. For many, we truly helped them enjoy this holiday and share it with family members. Most of the e-mail wished us success in our ongoing campaign and deployments against terrorists.

"My hat is off to everyone who participated this year," Perini said. "The media also followed along closely as NORAD tracked Santa with close to 1,000 electronic and print news stories appearing nationwide," he said.

NORAD's partners in tracking Santa included: AOL Communications, Va.; Analytical Graphics Inc. Exton, Penn.; Globelink Language and Culture Services, Colo.; 24-7 Web Studio, Colo.; Akamia Technologies, Inc., Cambridge, Mass.; ICG Communications, Colo.; MCI Government Markets, Va; and ClearCube Technology, Inc., Texas.