Santa's Coming - Where Is the Sleigh?
On the 159th episode of Speedify LIVE we get all Festive with our special guest Capt. Stephen Collier from NORAD to talk about their official Santa Tracker, that tracks Santa LIVE around the globe every year since 1955.
We chat about how the Santa Tracking started, who exactly does the tracking, how it works, and all the little things that NORAD does to make the Holidays special for everyone!
Here are our 5 takeaways from our chat with Capt. Stephen Collier:
- Santa is tracked using the same system that is used to keep North America safe! There are three different types of platforms: satellites for early detection systems; a radar network of radar systems that’s often seen in movies; and the interceptor aircraft. Based on the data of several years, they are able to detect the heat signature of Rudolph’s Red Nose that allows overhead satellites to lock onto Santa’s location.
- NORAD began tracking Santa in 1955 after a simple misunderstanding that led into a 67 year-long project, and counting! After the phone number on a Sears ad got misread and someone called the Op-center of NORAD (CONAD at the time), the person on the phone just went with it, and it snow-balled into what it is today!
- NoradSanta.org is an interactive website that is designed by Microsoft’s Team of artists with new games everyday during Holiday Season, like an Advent Calendar! It’s designed to look like Santa’s Village and depending on what you click on there’s different things to do: arcade games, a theater linking to YouTube, a music stage with playlists, a Library with information on different Holidays, etc.
- Tracking Santa is completely done by volunteers within NORAD! According to Capt. Collier there may be about a thousand volunteers, filling about 45 people in shift every hour, a lot of them being retirees as well. With Covid they also introduced virtual call options to help with social distancing and keep things going!
- When it comes to accessibility, Capt. Collier says it’s important to make sure that everyone can Track Santa equally! He says that apart from the basic 508c compliance for the website, they also have the ability to get information through Amazon Alexa, while the website is available in 8 different languages, AND the call lines are available in a few languages as well.