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Norad Santa Tracker

Norad Santa Tracker - A 55-year-old tradition continues this year as the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, launches its Santa Tracker at 2 a.m. EST on Christmas Eve, with help from Google Earth. NORAD tracks Old Saint Nick with four high-tech systems -- radar, satellites, Santa Cams and fighter jets -- not to mention the help of volunteers and donations to offset the costs.

The program started in 1955, when a Sears Roebuck ad in Colorado Springs, Colo., misprinted their number in an ad for a Santa hotline. Instead of Santa, calls poured in to the Continental Air Defense Command and its director of operations, Col. Harry Shoup. Shoup answered the phone expecting to speak to someone at the Pentagon. Instead he heard someone asking, "Are you really Santa Claus?"

Rather than say, "Sorry, kid, wrong number," he used his tracking equipment to give children the location of Santa Claus. You can find a charming audio clip of Shoup describing the first call at the official NORAD Santa Web site, which also has games for kids anxiously awaiting Santa's takeoff.

Norad Santa Tracker

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