Every day is a busy day at the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado.

Every day is a busy day at the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado.

However, today is especially busy as satellites and radars normally used to protect North American aerospace will be now be used to let the world know just where Santa Claus is.

U.S. Navy Lt. Desmond James, public relations with NORAD, said that Christmas Eve night means that the Cheyenne Mountain Complex — which houses NORAD — has teams of military personnel and volunteers to help keep track of Santa.

“We have about 1,200 military and family members last year that help respond to e-mails and phone calls,” James said. “We had 74,000 phone calls that came in over 24 hours and 3,500 e-mails.”

To give an idea of the scope of popularity of NORAD’s Santa Tracker, James said that, as of Thursday, their Facebook page had over 470,000 fans — and they hadn’t even started tracking yet.

Last year, the Santa Tracker website had more than 13 million unique visitors from every country on the planet.
“It’s all around the world,” James said. “We’ve added languages and we are finding that we are getting interview requests from Romania, the U.K., China, Japan, Germany and Italy.”

What’s equally daunting is the process NORAD uses to track Santa throughout Christmas Eve.

James said that three systems used by NORAD for normal operations, including radars in Alaska and Canada are employed to track Santa. In addition, missile warning radars are used to keep pace with Rudolph’s red nose.

Once Santa enters the continental United States, James said that fighter jets are scrambled to greet Santa and his sleigh.

Outside of North America, James said that there are up to 18 “Santa Cams” to track Santa at various places across the globe.

“Given how big the program is, we try to do everything we can to really enhance the tracking,” James said. “But, without our volunteers, it would not be possible.”

The tracking of Santa Claus can be followed using the NORAD Track Santa website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Tracking officially began at 2 a.m. (MST) today.

“There are no days off at NORAD,” James said. “We still have our standard operation systems that track any potential threats to Canada and the United States ... it really makes things interesting.”

On the web:
NORAD Track Santa: http://www.noradsanta.org
NORAD Track Santa e-mail: noradatracksanta@gmail.com
Facebook: @noradsanta
Twitter: @noradsanta
Phone: 1-877-446-6723 (HI-NORAD)

Matthew Clark can be reached at matthew.clark@morningsun.net or at 620-231-2600, Ext. 140