Dec 11 2014

10 Facts from NORAD’s Santa-Tracking Experts

More than 1,000 volunteers join forces to carry out the elaborate mission each Christmas Eve.

For nearly six decades, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) has used sophisticated radar, satellite systems, jet fighters and a growing team of volunteers to track Santa’s flight each Christmas Eve.

The NORAD Santa Tracker mission has become so elaborate that people around the world can now track Mr. Claus on their smartphones and tablets, through social media and via OnStar subscriptions. NORAD Santa Cams will begin tracking his flight Dec. 24 at 12:01 a.m. MST, and the video will be streamed online. Phone operators will begin fielding calls about Santa’s location at 4 a.m. MST.

While you wait for Santa’s journey to begin, there are plenty of free online games to play and Christmas carols to enjoy from the U.S. Air Force Academy Band.

Tracking Santa is no easy task — as many as 60 military and corporate contributors partner on the annual program. Check out these other stats from NORAD:

1.4 million NORAD Facebook fans


134,000 followers on Twitter


41,676 Google+ followers


4.2 million NORAD Tracks Santa app downloads


1,250 volunteers, including NORAD service members, civilians, and DOD employees


23 hours spent by volunteers answering phone calls, emails and updating social media


117,371 calls received on Dec. 24, 2013


9,606 emails answered on Dec. 24, 2013


800 OnStar requests last year to locate Santa


8 different translations (English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Chinese)