[SatNews] The sight is set up for the kids, but who really ends up looking at the famous jolly Santa traveling in space?
The North American Aerospace Defense Command is prepared to track Santa's yuletide journey! The newly redesigned NORAD Tracks Santa website, www.noradsanta.org, goes live Sunday, December 1, featuring a holiday countdown, daily games and activities, videos, music and more. Beyond a new look, features such as a 3D globe and new interactive games take advantage of today's modern web. The site is available in eight languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Chinese.
The official NORAD Tracks Santa app is also available in the Windows, Apple and Android stores, so parents and children can count down the days until Santa's launch on their smart phones and tablets! Tracking opportunities are also offered on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+. Santa followers just need to type "@noradsanta" into each social media property to get started.
Starting at 12:01 a.m. MST on Dec. 24, website visitors can watch Santa make preparations for his flight through the Bing maps and Cesium technology to track Santa with NORAD in 2D and 3D. Then, at 4 a.m. MST (6 a.m. EST), trackers worldwide can speak with a live phone operator to inquire as to Santa's whereabouts by dialing the toll-free number 1-877-Hi-NORAD (1-877-446-6723) or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
OnStar subscribers can press the OnStar button in their vehicles to find Santa's location any time on Dec. 24. NORAD's "Santa Cams" will stream videos on the website as Santa makes his way over various locations. NORAD Tracks Santa is truly a global experience, delighting generations of families everywhere. This is due, in large part, to the efforts and services of numerous program contributors.
This year's contributors include: the 21st Space Wing, Acuity Scheduling, Alaska NORAD Region, America Forces Network (AFN), Analytical Graphics, Inc., Avaya, BeMerry! Santa / Noerr Program, Canadian NORAD Region, The Citadel Mall, Colorado Springs Business Alliance, Colorado Springs School District 11, Continental NORAD Region, CradlePoint, Defense Video & Imagery Distributions Systems, Federal Aviation Administration, First Choice Awards and Gifts, Globelink Foreign Language Center, Harris, Hewlett Packard (HP), iLink-Systems, Kids.gov, Marine Toys for Tots, Foundation, Meshbox, Microsoft®--including Azure, Bing, Internet Explorer, Skype, Windows, and Windows Phone, Naden Band of Maritime Forces Pacific, National Tree Lighting Ceremony, Naturally Santa's Inc., Newseum, OnStar, PCI Broadband, Portable North Pole/ Ugroup Media, Pueblo Riverwalk, RadiantBlue Technologies, Inc., Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Colorado, Space Foundation, SriiusXM®, The Pentagon Channel, tw telecom ®, U.S. Air Force Academy Band, U.S. Air Force Band of Liberty, U.S. Air Force Band of the Golden West, U.S. Air Force Band of the West, U.S. Air Force Band, U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band, U.S. Army Ground Forces Band, U.S. Coast Guard Band, U.S. Department of State Family Liaison Office, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, U.S. Band of MidAmerica, Verizon, Visionbox, West Point Band, Windows Azure, and Xtomic.
It all started in 1955 when a local media advertisement directed children to call Santa direct – only the number was misprinted. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone rang through to the Crew Commander on duty at the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center. Thus began the tradition which NORAD carried on since it was created in 1958.