How does NORAD track Santa on Christmas Eve?

How does NORAD track Santa on Christmas Eve?

真, you can’t take anything for granted about a centuries-old elf who relies on a magical sleigh to deliver presents to the 7.8 billion residents of an entire planet in a single night.

Except this: The normal laws of plane, train and automobile travel don’t apply. Social-distancing requirements and the risks of the 2019冠状病毒病大流行 probably don’t pose much of an impediment for his 圣诞 mission either.

The same can’t be said, 然而, for the personnel of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), which is having to make adjustments to its 65-year tradition of tracking Ol’ 圣. Nick’s flight.


对于初学者, the unit’s Colorado Springs, Colo., headquarters has been forced to downsize and relocate the 1,500-person team that runs its call center and forward some of the hundreds of thousands of calls to a special messaging system.

And the crew of volunteers for the Official NORAD Santa Tracker, which fielded more than 154,000 phone calls from children last year, has been significantly downsized.

现在, 的 12 volunteers in the NORAD Santa-tracking center will work in two different rooms to keep them properly socially distanced, and those who are working in the center will be required to take a survey and have their temperatures checked.

总共, there are expected to be around 100 people in the call centers working in shifts spread out over a 20-hour period. For mementos, they’ll receive NORAD Tracks Santa-themed hand sanitizer bottles.

Other parts of the tradition remain intact. 每年, using the North Warning System – a radar system that has 47 installations across Canada’s North阿拉斯加州 – NORAD says it checks for indications that Santa’s sleigh and reindeer have left the North Pole.

Once the bi-national organization has confirmed liftoff, officials use satellites with infrared sensors 22,300 miles above the Earth to detect Rudolph’s nose.

The most famous reindeer’s illuminated nostrils emit an infrared signature similar to a missile launch. (NORAD uses the same satellites in providing air warning of possible missile launches aimed at North America.)

最后, Canadian fighter pilots in CF-18s take off from Newfoundland to welcome Santa to North America and escort him through Canada. American fighter pilots in either F-15s, F16s or F-22s then guide him through the United States.

According to the NORAD Tracks Santa website, Santa starts his journey at the International Date Line in the Pacific Ocean and travels west.

The tracker showed Santa’s sleigh above 俄国 在 8 上午. ET on Christmas Eve.

Public affairs officer Capt. Pamela Kunze and Vice Admiral Michael J. Dumont have worked tirelessly since October to make the tracking program a success.

Dumont grew up with NORAD’s Santa Tracker and said running the program is a “回退” to his youth.

Having NORAD continue tracking Santa brings some sense of normalcy to the lives of children who will pay attention to it,” 他说. “和, I think it provides reassurance that 2020 will come to a close, COVID-19 will be sent to the past, and NORAD Tracks Santa will be a reminder of the days ahead.

The program is funded through donations from companies like Verizon, 亚马孙, 微软HP.

Tracking Santa is not all Kunze and Dumont are responsible for on a daily basis: NORAD defends North America through aerospace warning, aerospace control and maritime warning.


We’re responsible for the defense of the United States,” said Dumont. “和, we are generally responsible for surveilling the airspace and protecting both Canada and the United States.

To track Santa, believers can head to or call toll-free 1-877-Hi-NORAD for more information on his location.




, , ,