Tuesday, December 23, 2008

NORAD Tracks Santa

To the immediate south of Pikes Peak is Cheyenne Mountain.

Photo of Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado
by Fish Cop, released to public domain(^)

There is a wonderful zoo on the side of the mountain, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo(^), which has a prolific giraffe breeding program (just as cool: you can feed and touch the giraffes).
At the foot of Cheyenne Mountain is the 5-star Broadmoor Hotel(^), and at the top you can find the Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun(^).

Photo of the Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun
by Matt Wright(^), permission: Attribution ShareAlike 2.5(^)

Deep inside Cheyenne Mountain you would, if you could, find the Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station buried 2000 feet below the surface of the Earth. Since the cold war, the CMAFS, NORAD (the North American Aerospace Defense Command), and other agencies have monitored (in real time) a worldwide system of satellites and other sensors that protect the United States and her allies.

Inside Cheyenne Mountain, public domain photo(^)

In 1955, the local Sears department store ran an ad for children to call Santa and give him their Christmas wishlist(^). That year, Sears inadvertently gave the phone number for CONAD (Continental Air Defense), the precursor of NORAD in the advertisement and children began calling. Colonel Harry Shoup was on duty that night, and was the first to receive a call from a local child wanting to speak to Santa. Once the colonel figured out what had happened, he instructed his staff to locate Santa for the children who called.

Every year since, on Christmas Eve, the brave men and women who work to protect us every day gear up to track Santa Claus using satellites, radar, and Santa Cam(^) on his journey around the world. Last year NORAD highlighted about two dozen of Santa's stops, including Auckland, Moscow, Egypt, Machu Picchu, and even the Space Shuttle.

When Santa enters North American airspace, Canadian NORAD fighter pilots, meet and welcome Santa to North America, flying CF-18 which are equipped with Santa Cams.

Once Santa reaches the United States, NORAD fighter pilots in either F-15 or F-16s fly alongside Santa and his reindeer, using the Santa Cam to broadcast video of Santa as he crosses the continent bringing gifts to children everywhere.

If you'd like to track Santa along with NORAD this year, you can find their website, NORAD Santa right here(^) starting at:
  • 3 a.m. Pacific Standard Time
  • 4 a.m. Mountain Standard Time
  • 5 a.m. Central Standard Time
  • 6 a.m. Eastern Standard Time
  • 11 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time
There's even a Google widget to help with tracking (found here^)

Here's hoping that Santa brings you what your heart desires this (and every) year.


Current Mood: Photobucket hopeful

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