COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Santa Claus is coming to town.
Colorado Springs-based North America Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is once again tracking Kris Kringle on his journey around the world. This is the 66th year NORAD has tracked Santa's Christmas Eve travels.
NORAD launches its online Santa radar at 4 a.m. MT on Christmas Eve so children and children at heart can track the jolly old elf from continent to continent.
There's also a phone number to call to reach the NORAD Tracks Santa Operation Center starting at 4 a.m. MT on Friday, Dec. 24: 1-877-466-6723.
You can also send an email to email@example.com. A NORAD staff member will give you Santa's last known location in a return email.
The Santa Tracker program started in 1955, when a local Sears store in Colorado Springs printed a newspaper ad that invited kids to call a certain phone number to talk to Santa. The number was misprinted, and the calls ended up going to the Continental Air Defense Command, NORAD's predecessor.
The colonel on duty that night realized the mistake. He ordered his officers and his troops to start tracking Santa using our systems and telling the kids where Santa was throughout the night.
"While the tradition of tracking Santa began purely by accident, NORAD continues to track Santa," according to the website. "We're the only organization that has the technology, the qualifications, and the people to do it. And, we love it! NORAD is honored to be Santa's official tracker!"
As the official tracker, NORAD has the scoop on Santa. For instance, their intelligence indicates Santa is at least 16 centuries old, is about 5-foot-7 and weighs about 260 pounds (before cookies), according to the FAQS.
And the sleigh is 74 cc (candy canes) long and carries about 60,000 tons of gifts at takeoff.
As for the age-old question, "Is there a Santa Claus?" this is what NORAD has to say: "Mountains of historical data and NORAD tracking information leads us to believe that Santa Claus is alive and well in the hearts of people throughout the world."
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