Home Tech How NORAD tracks Santa’s trip around the world

How NORAD tracks Santa’s trip around the world


What started as an accident in 1955 has become a Christmas tradition enjoyed by millions around the globe each year.

“Here in Colorado Springs, one of the local department stores ran an ad on a newspaper with a number to call Santa,” said Brigadier General Parker Wright, director of intelligence at NORAD. “Unfortunately, the ad misprinted the number. So, rather than calling Santa, the child called the predecessor of NORAD, Continental Air Defense.”

Air Force Colonel Harry Shoup answered that first phone call, and from there, NORAD’s tradition of tracking Santa was born.

“Colonel Shoup played along, knew what was going on and when he hung the phone up, he called his team together and said, ‘We’re probably going to get a lot of calls tonight,'” Wright said. 

For the past 66 years, NORAD has been tracking Santa on Christmas Eve using a combination of hi-tech. First, NORAD uses a ground-based radar that has 47 sites strung across Alaska and…

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