---- — PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The North American Aerospace Defense Command is tracking Santa.
The NORAD Tracks Santa website, www.noradsanta.org, is already live, featuring a holiday countdown, games and daily activities, video messages from students around the world and more.
The website is available in eight languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Chinese.
Official NORAD Tracks Santa apps are also available in the Windows Store, Apple Store and Google Play, so parents and children can count down the days until Santa’s launch on their smart phones and tablets.
Tracking opportunities are also offered on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+. Santa followers just need to type “@noradsanta” into each search engine to get started.
Starting at midnight on Dec. 24, website visitors can watch Santa make preparations for his flight. Then, at 6 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, trackers worldwide can speak with a live phone operator to inquire as to Santa’s whereabouts by dialing the toll-free number 1-877-Hi-NORAD (1-877-446-6723) or by sending an email to email@example.com.
NORAD’s “Santa Cams” will also stream videos as Santa makes his way over various locations.
NORAD Tracks Santa started in 1955 when a local media advertisement encouraged children to call Santa direct — only the number was misprinted. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone rang through to the crew commander on duty at the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center.
That began a tradition that NORAD has carried on since it was created in 1958.
New to this year’s program are Bing, HP, iLink-Systems, Kids.gov, Microsoft’s Windows Azure, BeMerry! Santa and SiriusXM.
Returning collaborators include the 21st Space Wing, Acuity Scheduling, Air Canada, American Forces Network, Analytical Graphics Inc., Avaya, Citadel Mall, Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Council, CradlePoint, Defense Video Imagery Distribution System, Federal Aviation Administration, First Choice Awards & Gifts, Globelink Foreign Language Center, Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, Meshbox, National Tree Lighting Ceremony, Naturally Santa’s Inc., Newseum, OnStar, PCI Broadband, Pentagon Channel, RadiantBlue, Space Foundation, TurboSquid, twtelecom, UGroup Media, Verizon and VisionBox.
Santa’s Countdown Calendar and the Santa Cam videos feature music by military bands, including the Naden Band of the Maritime Forces Pacific, Air Force Academy Band, Air Force Band of Liberty, Air Force Band of the Golden West, Air Force Band of the West, Air Force Band, Air Force Heartland of America Band, U.S. Army Ground Forces Band, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Band, Air Force Band of Mid-America and the West Point Band.