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NORAD & Santa

By on Aug 19, 2008 in On A Whim | 0 comments

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Having an 8 year old in the family is a wonderful thing, his innocence never fails to bring a smile to my face and Christmas for him is Santa Claus, no matter how much I want to tell him and explain to him the truth. I will always respect the fact that for him this lie is perfect, for as children, we are very vulnerable and a grandfatherly figure does ease tensions. So I decided to do something special for him before he grows up and faces a cruel world. Now I am penniless so buying him a gift is out of question so I decided to show him NORAD’s (North American Aerospace Defense Command) tracking of santa on a trip around the globe, a heart warming tradition it started in 1955 when a store accidentally put CONADs (Continental Air Defense) director of Operations number on an advertisement encouraging children to call santa now the officer on duty didn’t find it hilarious and ordered his staff to give the location of santa to every child who called , this started the tradition which was later continued by NORAD and now they even offer it in 3D on google earth!

It’s a pity he had to go home and couldn’t enjoy it if any of you out there has an 8 year old in your home or heart go ,here.

Here’s NORADs description of their program:

Detecting Santa all starts with the NORAD radar system called the North Warning System. This powerful radar system has 47 installations strung across the northern border of North America. NORAD makes a point of checking the radar closely for indications of Santa Claus leaving the North Pole on Christmas Eve.
The moment our radar tells us that Santa has lifted off, we use our second mode of detection, the same satellites that we use in providing warning of possible missile launches aimed at North America. These satellites are located in a geo-synchronous orbit (that’s a cool phrase meaning that the satellite is always fixed over the same spot on the Earth) at 22,300 miles above the Earth. The satellites have infrared sensors, meaning they can detect heat. When a rocket or missile is launched, a tremendous amount of heat is produced – enough for the satellites to detect. Rudolph’s nose gives off an infrared signature similar to a missile launch. The satellites can detect Rudolph’s bright red nose with practically no problem. With so many years of experience, NORAD has become good at tracking aircraft entering North America, detecting worldwide missile launches and tracking the progress of Santa, thanks to Rudolph.
The third detection system we use is the Santa Cam. We began using it in 1998 – the year we put our Santa Tracking program on the Internet. NORAD Santa Cams are ultra-cool high-tech high-speed digital cameras that are pre-positioned at many places around the world. NORAD only uses these cameras once a year – Christmas Eve. The cameras capture images of Santa and the Reindeer as they make their journey around the world. We immediately download the images on to our web site for people around the world to see. Santa Cams produce both video and still images.
The fourth detection system we use is the NORAD jet fighter. Canadian NORAD fighter pilots, flying the CF-18, take off out of Newfoundland to intercept and welcome Santa to North America. Then at numerous locations in Canada other CF-18 fighter pilots escort Santa. While in the United States, American NORAD fighter pilots in either the F-15 or F-16 get the thrill of flying with Santa and the famous Reindeer Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and Rudolph. About a dozen NORAD fighters in Canada and the United States are equipped with Santa Cams.

Merry Christmas to all of you who have made my life worth living and a happy new year in advance, enjoy yourself and give yourself a treat from my side (don’t ask me to pay for it though, I can’t currently afford to do so).



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