On Christmas Eve, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) will transform from protecting North American skies to tracking Santa Claus. Although most commonly known for tracking Santa, NORAD conducts essential work protecting American skies. If you’re unfamiliar with NORAD, it is a United States and Canada bi-national organization charged with the missions of aerospace warning and aerospace control for North America. This is the second post highlighting the NTS program at NORAD.
NORAD’s Santa Tracker is part of many of our holiday traditions. Recently, I had the chance to speak with Stacey L. Knott Deputy Chief, Strategic Outreach, NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs, to learn about how you can get involved, and some of the exciting changes to expect this year from NTS. The program has three core goals:
- Spread good will and cheer during the holiday season
- Increase public awareness of NORAD and its mission
- Showcase NORAD personnel and highlight NORAD’s “high-tech” approach to accomplishing its bi-national mission.
The NORAD team takes their responsibilities seriously, and enjoys being able to provide such a unique service for millions of families around the world. “NTS is truly part of people’s holiday traditions, so both for us here at NORAD and all of our partners all over the world, we appreciate that and we are honored and we understand that responsibility and we’re proud to do that,” said Knott.
Santa Tracking Goes Digital
We live in a digital world, and NORAD has created services for you to be able to track Santa on the go. Knott shared with us many of the different options to track Santa this year with NORAD. The website, NoradSanta.org, has been given quite the upgrade this year. The new site will provide improved ways to track Santa, and engage with NORAD on the web. “NORADSanta.org has interactive games and music and videos and all kinds of things on the website throughout the month,” said Knott.
The site is not only accessible from a desktop, but also a tablet or mobile phone. “We have had a complete re-design of the site, it’s absolutely beautiful and I’m excited for people to check it out. It’s more interactive with beautiful graphics that I think will appeal to a lot of people, both young, and young at heart.”
You can also follow along on various social media sites, as Knott said, “We also provide opportunities for people to track Santa on December 24 and get information throughout the month of December via our social media sites, which include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, so people can go in and see what’s going on throughout the month including December 24th.”
And, if you happen to be away from a computer and want to make a phone call to track Santa, you can dial: 1-877-HI-NORAD. There’s another way to track Santa as well, and that’s by using your OnStar feature in your car. “On December 24th, if someone has a vehicle with an OnStar button and a subscription for OnStar they can even click their OnStar button and ask the operator there to locate Santa for them on that day,” said Knott.
This is a great program that NORAD puts on, and if you’d like more information on the program and its history, be sure to check out an additional blog post.
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