63 years of tracking Santa: How NORAD became a holiday tradition

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It all started with a happy accident. In 1955 an ad directed children to call Santa. But the number was misdialed. According to NORAD, the child reached the crew commander on duty at the Continental Air Defense Command Opertions Center. That was NORAD’s predecessor.

This year more than 1,400 volunteers are expected to join NORAD on Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs to help track Santa’s journey.

NORAD stands for the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

“In addition to our day-to-day mission of defending North America, we are proud to carry on the tradition of tracking Santa as he travels along his yuletide flight,” said Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, commander NORAD and U.S. Northern Command. “The same radars, satellites and interceptors employed on December 24 are used year-round to protect Canada and the United States.”

NORAD is a binational U.S. and Canadian Command charged with aerospace and maritime warning and aerospace control of North America as well as monitoring aerospace activity globally.

Google Map for coordinates 38.823862 by -104.700050.

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