Tracking System 1 - North Warning SystemEdit
Tracking Santa starts with the NORAD radar system called the North Warning System. This powerful radar system consists of 47 installations strung across the northern border of North America. On Christmas Eve, NORAD monitors the radar systems closely for indications of Santa Claus has left the North Pole.
The moment our radar tells us that Santa has lifted off, we use our second detection system, 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, which enable them to detect heat. When a rocket or missile is launched, a tremendous amount of heat is produced - enough for the satellites to detect. Amazingly, Rudolph's bright 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 tracking system is the Santa Cam network. We began using it in 1998, which is the year after we put our Santa Tracking program on the Internet. Santa Cams are ultra-cool, high-tech, high-speed digital cameras that are pre-positioned at many locations around the world. NORAD only uses these cameras once a year - Christmas Eve. The cameras capture images and videos of Santa and his 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.
Tracking System 4 - NORAD Jet Fighters and Santa Claus EscortEdit
The fourth tracking system is made up of fighter jets. Canadian NORAD fighter pilots, flying the CF-18 intercept and welcome Santa to North America. In the United States, American NORAD fighter pilots in either the F-15 or F-16 get the thrill of flying alongside Santa and his famous reindeer: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and, of course Rudolph.