Millions of children around the world are expected to follow the progress of the legendary Santa Claus this Christmas holiday, once again with the help of a special website set up with the help of the North American Aerospace Command.
For more than 50 years, radar experts from the command, known as NORAD, and the agencies that preceded it have been delighting children with their ability to track Santa's progress on Christmas eve. The special Internet website they use grows more popular every year.
The website, noradsanta.org, allows children to track the legendary Santa Claus and his team of reindeer, including the ever popular Rudolph, whose glowing nose helps light the way.
A spokesman for NORAD, which normally uses its powerful radars to spot incoming missiles, says Santa and his toy filled sleigh were spotted early on Christmas eve as he successfully took off from the North Pole.
"NORAD satellites have picked up Rudolph's bright glowing nose at the North Pole and our radar images confirm that Santa and his nine reindeer have lifted off," he said.
The tradition of tracking Santa began in 1955 when an advertisement from a U.S.-based retail store [Sears Roebuck & Company] offered a telephone number for children to call and speak to Santa. The number was misprinted and children called the operational "hotline" for the U.S. Continental Air Defense Command. A tradition was born when the friendly commander that night patiently told each caller that Santa was being tracked on radar.
Now the U.S.-Canadian aerospace command has a hugely popular website to deal with the millions of excited children who log on for hourly updates about the progress of the legendary Santa, who is expected to visit the homes of boys and girls around the world.