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NORAD tracks Santa for Christmas

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- For the 55th consecutive year, the men and women of the North American Aerospace Defense Command are preparing to track Santa. The NORAD Tracks Santa web site,www.noradsanta.org , went live Dec. 3 and features holiday games and activities that change daily.

The web site is available in seven languages: English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, and Chinese. The web site will stream videos, captured by NORAD "Santa Cams," from cities along Santa's journey Dec. 24.

This year, children are able to track Santa through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and TroopTube. To follow NORAD on these Santa-tracking tools, type in "@noradsanta" into the search engine to start your tracking.

Also, beginning at midnight MST Dec. 24, visitors to the website can watch Santa as he prepares his sleigh, checks his list, and goes through all of his preparations to ensure he has a successful journey.

As soon as Santa takes off from the North Pole, children can also track him with up-to-the-minute updates on Google Maps and Google Earth through the NORAD Tracks Santa web site.

Santa trackers will begin answering phones and replying to e-mail at 2 a.m. MST (4 a.m. EST) on Dec. 24 and will continue until 3:00 a.m. MST (5 a.m. EST) Dec. 25. Children of all ages can then call the NTS toll-free number 1-877-Hi-NORAD (1-877-446-6723) or send an e-mail to noradtrackssanta@gmail.com.

The NORAD Tracks Santa program began in 1955 after a phone call was made to the Continental Air Defense Command 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 on duty who answered the phone that night gave the youngster the information requested -- the whereabouts of Santa. This began the tradition of tracking Santa, a tradition that was carried on by NORAD when it was formed in 1958.

The NORAD Tracks Santa program has grown immensely since first presented on the Internet in 1998. The web site receives millions of visitors from hundreds of countries and territories around the world. In addition, a live operations center is occupied for 25 hours with more than 1,200 volunteers each year who receive hundreds of thousands of phone calls and e-mails from families around the world.

(Courtesy of 21st Space Wing Public Affairs)