As many of you already know, NORAD has special surveillance systems in place to track that jolly old man in the red suit as he makes his rounds on Christmas Eve. NORAD’s Santa site is now online and counting down the days until take-off, with plenty of activities to keep kids entertained as they wait by the tree, cookies and milk at the ready – in fact, NORAD even has a way to keep track of how many cookies Santa eats on Christmas Eve!
There is a new holiday-themed game to play each day in the Kids’ Countdown Village or watch the videos captured during last year’s trip. If the holiday season has you on the go, Elf Toss is available on the NORAD Santa App, and is a great game that lets players help Santa deliver all of those presents. The App, which is available as free download for both iOS devices and Android smartphones counts down to Christmas Eve and will also provide Santa tracking.
Although he hasn’t yet filed his flight plan with Nav Canada, Santa can also be tracked via Facebook, Google+ and Twitter and of course with Google Earth and Google Maps. NORAD’s 47 sensor North Warning System will know as soon as Santa and his reindeer take off from the North Pole to begin visiting girls and boys around the world. Once Santa’s sleigh reaches cruise level NORAD’s satellite network will pick up his trail from their orbit 22,300 miles above the Earth’s surface. According to the NORAD team, Rudolph’s bright red nose gives off an infrared signature, which allows the satellites to detect Rudolph and Santa as they zig zag from house to house.
NORAD’s top secret Santa Cams are strategically placed to capture video of the toy-laden sleigh and its captain weaving through the air between high-rises and over mountains. The videos are then streamed online so that children know for certain that Santa is on his way. Members of NORAD’s Santa are also charged with keeping Santa safe – flying at such a high rate of speed means that the sleigh’s flight path must be kept clear, and Canadian NORAD CF-18 fighter pilots will welcome Santa to North America and escort him while in Canadian air space. The Canadian pilots will hand off their escort duties to American fighter pilots when Santa visits our neighbours to the south.