During the month of December, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) gears up to once again add to its job of keeping an eye out for threats in the air with its ever so important NORAD Tracks Santa® (NTS) program. The NORAD Tracks Santa® (NTS) program has been assisting with the global tracking of Santa Claus since 1955, while always increasing its technology and delivery of tracking information to the people, such as tracking apps and SantaCams!

From its main headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado, NORAD will once again be tracking Santa as he travels the globe to visit good boys and girls worldwide! The official action all starts promptly (because who is more on time than Santa!) at 12:01 a.m. MST (2:01 a.m. EST/11:01 p.m. PST) on Christmas Eve, December 24.

track santa norad

Keep up with Santa!

How Does NORAD Do It?
– First, NORAD uses some 47 radar installations strung across Canada’s North and Alaska (North Warning System) to closely watch for indications of Santa Claus leaving the North Pole every holiday season.
– Once his movement is detected, geo-synchronous satellites located 22,300 miles above the Earth focus their infrared sensors on Rudolph’s nose, which gives off an infrared signature familiar to NORAD.
– Activated SantaCams (ultra-cool, high-tech, high-speed digital cameras) strategically placed worldwide catch video and still-frame shots of Santa’s movement.
– Finally, a NORAD jet fighter, flying the CF-18, takes off out of Newfoundland and welcome Santa to North America over Canada. Upon entered the United States airspace, American NORAD fighter pilots in either the F-15s, F16s or F-22s get the thrill of flying with Santa and the famous Reindeer – Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and Rudolph.

NORAD explains that, “Even though Santa flies faster than any jet fighter (Santa actually slows down for us to escort him), all of these systems together provide NORAD with a very good continuous picture of his whereabouts.”

How Can You Track Santa?

  1. Watch Online from NORAD’s website: http://www.noradsanta.org
  2. Tracking Apps to follow Santa: iTunes App | Google Play App | Windows Phone App | Windows 8 App
  3. Call NORAD to speak to live personnel standing by:  (877) HI-NORAD (877-446-6723)
  4. Email NORAD to ask for an update on Santa’s progress: noradtrackssanta@outlook.com
  5. Follow Twitter to get updates on his movements: @NoradSanta

What Is Santa’s Route?
According to NORAD’s historical records:

Santa visits the South Pacific first, then New Zealand and Australia. After that, he shoots up to Japan, over to Asia, across to Africa, then onto Western Europe, Canada, the United States, Mexico and Central and South America. Keep in mind, Santa’s route can be affected by weather, so it’s really unpredictable. NORAD coordinates with Santa’s Elf Launch Staff to confirm his launch time, but from that point on, Santa calls the shots.

According to NORAD, the tradition began in 1955 after a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement misprinted the telephone number for children to call Santa. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone number put kids through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief’s operations “hotline.” The Director of Operations at the time, Colonel Harry Shoup, had his staff check the radar for indications of Santa making his way south from the North Pole. Children who called were given updates on his location, and a tradition was born.

In 1958, the governments of Canada and the United States created a bi-national air defense command for North America called the North American Aerospace Defense Command, also known as NORAD, which then took on the tradition of tracking Santa.

Since that time, NORAD men, women, family and friends have selflessly volunteered their time to personally respond to phone calls and emails from children all around the world.



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