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    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.”
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    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.

    North Pole Noun

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

    Encyclopedic Entry: North Pole
    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.