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.”
paid announcement about the sale of goods and services.
business concerned with the manufacturing and operation of vehicles that fly in and above Earth's atmosphere.
vehicle able to travel and operate above the ground.
protection or resistance to attack.
person who plans the building of things, such as structures (construction engineer) or substances (chemical engineer).
tools and materials to perform a task or function.
to guess based on knowledge of the situation or object.
system or order of a nation, state, or other political unit.
place where an organization or project is chiefly located.
vast, worldwide system of linked computers and computer networks.
voyage or trip.
a prominent feature that guides in navigation or marks a site.
weapon that is guided toward a target.
able to travel or be transported easily.
business that manages the production of goods or delivers services in several countries.
(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."
person who charts a course or path.
fixed point that, along with the South Pole, forms the axis on which the Earth spins.
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.
path or way.
object that orbits around something else. Satellites can be natural, like moons, or made by people.
mobile telephone with additional features, such as a web browser or music playing device.
knowledgeable or complex.
person who comes next.
to follow the traces (tracks) of another person or animal.
beliefs, customs, and cultural characteristics handed down from one generation to the next.
legitimate, fair, or logical.