Space Certification Program

Biggest Year Ever for NORAD Tracks Santa

Written by: developer

The North American Aerospace Defense Command has reported that its NORAD Tracks Santa program exceeded previous years in the number of calls, emails and social media followers on Dec 24. This annual holiday tradition is a Certified Imagination Product in the Space Foundation’s Space Certification program.On Christmas Eve, more than 1,250 volunteers answered over 114,000 and they received nearly 11,000 emails. The NORAD Tracks Santa website,, had 22.3 million unique visitors access the site, up nearly 19 percent from the previous year.

Space Foundation volunteers who helped with the program Christmas Eve included Kaye Kerr (pictured,right), Cheryl Ledford, Bernadette Maisel, Rick Sanford and Janet Stevens, along with their families and friends.

The program began in 1955 after a Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement urged children to call Santa, but the number was misprinted. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone rang through to the CONAD commander-in-chief’s operations “hotline” phone. After receiving a number of calls asking where Santa was and realizing what had happened, the CONAD staff decided to update children with Santa’s location according to their radar screens all throughout the evening. In 1958, Canada and the United States created a bi-national air defense command for the North American continent called the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), which inherited the annual task of tracking Santa.

This article is part of Space Watch: January 2013 (Volume: 12, Issue: 1).