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NORAD is ready to track Santa's flight

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It's that time of the year again and the North American Aerospace Defense Command is getting ready to track Santa! The NORAD Tracks Santa Web site, www.noradsanta.org, is now live and features fun holiday games and activities that change daily. The Web site is available in seven languages: English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, and Chinese. On Dec. 24, the website will stream videos, captured by NORAD "Santa Cams", from numerous cities along Santa's journey.

This year, children and the young-at-heart are able to track Santa through Facebook.com, Twitter.com, YouTube.com, TroopTube.mil, and Flickr.com. To follow us on any of these Web sites, type in @noradsanta into the search engine and start your tracking.

New this year, OnStar is partnering with NORAD to provide OnStar subscribers live Santa updates as they travel in their vehicles on Christmas Eve. Subscribers simply push the blue OnStar button to get status reports on Santa's whereabouts.

Also new and beginning at 12:00 a.m. MST on Dec. 24., visitors to the website can watch Santa as he prepares his sleigh, checks his list, and goes through all his preparations to ensure he has a successful journey.

As soon as Santa takes off from the North Pole, children can also track him with up-to-the-minute Google Maps and Google Earth reports.

Santa trackers will begin answering phones and replying to email at 4:00 a.m. MST (6:00 a.m. EST) on Christmas Eve. Children of all ages can call the NTS toll free number 1-877-Hi-NORAD (1-877-446-6723) or send an email to noradtrackssanta@gmail.com.

The NTS program is carried out with the assistance of many corporate partners. Booz Allen Hamilton has designed the NTS Web site. Other sponsors helping with the event include Verizon, who donates the toll-free number, Time Warner, Avaya and PCI provide communications engineering, while OnStar, 5 Star Bank, Pepsi Distributing and First Choice Awards and Gifts keep the trackers happy with food, beverages and souvenir tracking pins.

The NTS program began on Dec. 24, 1955, after an errant phone call was made to the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. The call was from a local youngster who dialed a misprinted telephone number in a local newspaper advertisement. The commander at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, Colo. who answered the phone that night gave the youngster the information requested - the whereabouts of Santa Claus. This began the tradition of tracking Santa Claus, a tradition that was carried on by NORAD when it was formed in 1958.

The NTS program has grown immensely since first presented on the Internet in 1998. The Web site receives millions of unique visitors from hundreds of countries and territories around the world. In addition, the NTS Operations Center, occupied for 25 hours straight with over 1,200 volunteers on Christmas Eve, receives hundreds of thousands phone calls and emails from families around the world.

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