Caitlyn Kim was the General Assignment Editor. She joined the WNYC staff in August 2011. Previously, Caitlyn was a reporter/producer at WAMC and KQED. She also covered Connecticut state politics for WNPR, WFCR and WAMC ...
Unless Santa Claus has upgraded his sled to a stealth model, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, known as NORAD, will be tracking Santa as he makes his way around the globe.
“On Christmas Eve, the children of the world look to NORAD, and our trusted partners, to make sure that Santa is able to complete his mission safely,” said General Charles H. Jacoby, Jr., NORAD Commander.
For 56 years, NORAD has spent Christmas Eve looking out for a portly man in a red suit, being flown around the globe by eight reindeer (nine if the weather is bad) in a sleigh full of gifts for kids that have been nice this year.
NORAD doesn’t know when Santa will leave, only that it’s sometime on Christmas Eve.
LCDR William Lewis, a spokesman for NORAD, said tracking Santa is in keeping with their mission and capabilities. “When he [Santa] takes off, we can see his departure from an array of ground based systems we have in the northern reaches of Canada and Alaska,” he said. It’s at that point that the tracker will come online. “Also, Rudolph’s nose puts off quite the heat signature.”
This year, NORAD, has also launched some apps to help kids of all ages track Santa, if they are on the move. There will also be Santa Cams set up to stream videos of Santa’s 24-hour trip around the globe.
Aside from watching for Santa online, kids will be able to call into NORAD. Approximately 1,200 volunteers will be on hand at the Santa Tracker operations center to answer calls and emails, as well as sent out tweets.
Last year, they received more than 80,000 calls from kids around the world. The most asked question was, “When will Santa come to my house?” But one child, last year, was worried that Santa was slated to come to his home when he would still be awake.
According to NORAD’s Lewis, while Santa’s one steadfast rule is to visit while kids are sleeping, “he has a tendency to double back.”
You can watch highlights of Santa’s 2010 Trip below