Press Release Index
CONTACT: Ms. Brooke Davis, (cell) 315-225-4839
FOR RELEASE: Tuesday, Dec 23, 2008

New York Air National Guard Will Track Santa On Christmas Eve

Annual NORAD Christmas Tradition Turns Fifty-Three

ROME, NY (12/23/2008)-- As Santa prepares to dash around the world delivering gifts, and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) prepared to track his annual trip, the New York Air National Guard will be on duty too. Members at the Northeast Air Defense Sector in Rome, N.Y., stay on-duty around-the-clock, and their high-tech radars will come in handy this Christmas. As a unit of NORAD, NEADS tracks Santa's journey across the eastern half of the U.S. NEADS will use the four NORAD high-tech systems to track Santa - radar, satellites, Santa Cams and fighter jets to monitor the east coast. The 53-year Santa tracking tradition began in 1955 after a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement for children to call Santa misprinted the telephone number. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone number put kids through to the Continental Air Defense Command's Commander-in-Chief's operations "hotline." The Director of Operations at the time, Col. Harry Shoup, had his staff check 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. NORAD inherited the tradition of tracking Santa. Since that time, NORAD men, women, family and friends have selflessly volunteered their time to personally respond to Christmas Eve phone calls and emails from children. In addition, we now track Santa using the internet. Last year, millions of people who wanted to know Santa's whereabouts visited the NORAD Tracks Santa Web site http://www.noradstanta,org Tracking Santa starts with the NORAD radar system called the North Warning System. This powerful radar system consists of 47 installations strung across the northern border of North America. On Christmas Eve, members monitor the radar continuously for indications that Santa Claus has left the North Pole. The moment that radar indicates Santa has lifted off, we use our second detection system. Satellites positioned in geo-synchronous orbit at 22,300 miles from the Earth's surface are equipped with infrared sensors which enable them to detect heat. Amazingly, Rudolph's bright red nose gives off an infrared signature which allow our satellites to detect Rudolph and Santa. The third tracking system is the Santa Cam network. We began using it in 1998, which is the year we put our Santa Tracking program on the Internet at http://www.noradstanta,org . Santa Cams are ultra-cool, high-tech, high-speed digital cameras that are pre-positioned at many locations around the world. NORAD only uses these cameras once a year on Christmas Eve. The cameras capture images and videos of Santa and his reindeer as they make their journey around the world. The fourth system is made up of fighter jets. Canadian NORAD fighter pilots flying the CF-18 intercept and welcome Santa to North America. In the United States, American NORAD fighter pilots in either the F-15 or the F-16 get the thrill of flying alongside Santa and his famous reindeer: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and, of course, Rudolph. NORAD can confirm that Santa's sleigh is a versatile, all weather, multi-purpose, vertical short-take-off and landing vehicle. It is capable of traveling vast distances without refueling and is deployed, as far as we know, only on Christmas Eve (and briefly for a test flight about a month before Christmas). CUTLINE: Two members of the New York Air National Guard's Northeast Air Defense Sector prepare to track Santa using their high-tech radar equipment. Staff Sgt. Deborah Martin and Staff Sgt. Corey Reynolds make sure the high-tech radars that scan the sky above the eastern United States and Canada are ready to go for St. Nick's annual ride and the NORAD track Santa Program. NEADS is part of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, which is the bi-national U.S.-Canadian military organization responsible for the aerospace and maritime defense of the United States and Canada. Each year, NORAD tracks Santa, and you can too by checking out the Web site http://www.noradstanta,org -- the site features fun holiday games and activities that change daily. (Photo by Brooke Davis)


© NYS DMNA Press Release:New York Air National Guard Will Track Santa On Christmas Eve
Page Last Modified: Dec 23, 2008