Wednesday, December 24, 2008

NORAD Tracks Santa, Christmas Eve 2008

Click to visit the NORAD Tracks Santa Ops Center
Click to visit the NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center

News in Balance:

WASHINGTON, Dec. 24, 2008 -- The North American Aerospace Defense Command is again tracking Santa! On Christmas Eve, NORAD will begin tracking Santa Claus' journey via live video feeds that begin at the following times:
  • 3 a.m. Pacific Standard Time
  • 4 a.m. Mountain Standard Time
  • 5 a.m. Central Standard Time
  • 6 a.m. Eastern Standard Time
  • 11 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time

The NORAD Web site, designed by Booz Allen Hamilton, allows fans of all ages to get up-to-the-minute reports and streaming videos from key stops on Santa's trip around the world. Google software will output live images from NORAD's high-speed digital “Santa Cams," and Google Maps and Google Earth will follow Santa as he travels around the world. All of this information is available in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, and new this year, Chinese. In addition, for the first time, Canada Post will partner with NORAD to ensure children around the world can send an email to Santa through the NTS Web site. The NTS program is carried out with the assistance of many corporate partners

The NORAD Tracks Santa (NTS) program began on Dec. 24, 1955, after an errant phone call was made to the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Operations Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. The call was from a local youngster who dialed a misprinted telephone number in a local newspaper advertisement. The commander who answered the phone that night gave the youngster the information requested – the whereabouts of Santa Claus. This began the tradition of tracking Santa Claus, a tradition that was carried on by NORAD when it was formed in 1958. This Christmas marks the 50th anniversary of NORAD tracking Santa Claus as he goes around the world delivering presents.

The NTS program has grown immensely since first presented on the Internet in 1998. In 2007, the Web site received 10.6 plus million unique visitors from 212 countries and territories. In addition, the NTS Operations Center, occupied by 1,012 volunteers on Christmas Eve, answered nearly 95,000 phone calls and received 140,000 emails from families around the world.

(Report from a NORAD press release.)

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