Select Text Level:

On December 24, 1955, engineers and navigators at the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, tracked the journey of Santa Claus for the first time. CONAD’s successor, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), continues the tradition every December.
 
The first tracking was the result of a mistake in a local newspaper advertisement. The advertiser, Sears, had created a phone number for kids to call “Santa Claus.” Instead of the Sears number, the number to the nearby CONAD headquarters was provided. Instead of redirecting the calls, the CONAD staff used their sophisticated satellite navigation equipment to estimate the route of Santa from the North Pole to spots around the world. 
 
Today, NORAD and volunteers work with multinational corporations and government agencies such as NASA to develop “Santa Cams,” which track Santa’s movement over international landmarks.
 
The rest of the year, NORAD is a joint defense organization of the United States and Canada. NORAD is “charged with the missions of aerospace warning and aerospace control for North America. Aerospace warning includes the detection, validation, and warning of attack against North America whether by aircraft, missiles, or space vehicles, through mutual support arrangements with other commands.”
advertisement
Noun

paid announcement about the sale of goods and services.

aerospace
Noun

business concerned with the manufacturing and operation of vehicles that fly in and above Earth's atmosphere.

aircraft
Noun

vehicle able to travel and operate above the ground.

defense
Noun

protection or resistance to attack.

detect
Verb

to notice.

engineer
Noun

person who plans the building of things, such as structures (construction engineer) or substances (chemical engineer).

equipment
Noun

tools and materials to perform a task or function.

estimate
Verb

to guess based on knowledge of the situation or object.

government
Noun

system or order of a nation, state, or other political unit.

headquarters
Noun

place where an organization or project is chiefly located.

Internet
Noun

vast, worldwide system of linked computers and computer networks.

journey
Noun

voyage or trip.

landmark
Noun

a prominent feature that guides in navigation or marks a site.

missile
Noun

weapon that is guided toward a target.

mobile
Adjective

able to travel or be transported easily.

multinational corporation
Noun

business that manages the production of goods or delivers services in several countries.

NASA
Noun

(National Aeronautics and Space Administration) the U.S. space agency, whose mission statement is "To reach for new heights and reveal the unknown so that what we do and learn will benefit all humankind."

navigator
Noun

person who charts a course or path.

Noun

fixed point that, along with the South Pole, forms the axis on which the Earth spins.

photography
Noun

art and science of producing still or moving images using the chemical reaction of light on a sensitive surface, such as film or an electronic sensor.

route
Noun

path or way.

satellite
Noun

object that orbits around something else. Satellites can be natural, like moons, or made by people.

smartphone
Noun

mobile telephone with additional features, such as a web browser or music playing device.

sophisticated
Adjective

knowledgeable or complex.

successor
Noun

person who comes next.

track
Verb

to follow the traces (tracks) of another person or animal.

tradition
Noun

beliefs, customs, and cultural characteristics handed down from one generation to the next.

valid
adjective, noun

legitimate, fair, or logical.