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Tracking Santa: Where the Magic Happens!

The Big Picture:

It's Christmas Eve! So where's Santa? Time for Operation NORAD Tracks Santa! NORAD--the North American Aerospace Defense Command--operates the Official Santa Tracker from its headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base (soon to be Peterson Space Base?) in Colorado. Just visit


What started in 1955 as a misdialed phone call from a child hoping to reach the North Pole hotline has now become an annual tradition. Today, NORAD relies on volunteers to handle more than 100,000 telephone calls and more than 12,000 emails from more than two hundred countries and territories in a 24-hour period.

Behind the Magic

When not tracking Santa's flyby, NORAD’s radar system relies on satellites using heat-tracking infrared sensors to search for missile launches that may be aimed at North America.


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