After writing about Santa on Skype, I just found a news release from QWest stating that following the tradition since 1955, NORAD is tracking Santa, The Worlds Fastest Flying Object.
In the Spirit of Service® this holiday season, Qwest provides the voice network for NTS so children of all ages can call for real-time tracking information for Santa Claus during his important flight. The program is managed by NORAD and U.S. Northern Command Public Affairs Office at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.
Starting at 2 a.m. MST on Monday, Dec. 24 to 2 a.m. MST on Tuesday, Dec. 25, the toll-free phone lines will be open at 1-877-HI-NORAD for children to speak directly with one of more than 750 volunteers at NORAD who are tracking Santa.
NORAD has tracked Santa since 1955 when an advertisement in a Colorado Springs newspaper had misprinted the phone number to call Santa. Children who dialed the wrong number instead reached Col. Harry Shoup, the commander on duty in the Air Operations Center. Rather than hanging up, Col. Shoup had his operators “find the location of Santa Claus” on their radars and reported the information to every child who called that Christmas Eve.
Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) announced it is continuing its support of the North American Aerospace Defense Command’s (NORAD) mission of aerospace warning and control as it tracks Santa Claus during his annual flight around the world starting next Monday.
To complement top U.S. and Canadian military technology, including satellite, radar and fighter jets, Qwest will provide the voice network for the NORAD Tracks Santa (NTS) Operations Center in preparation for Santa’s launch from the North Pole on Dec. 24.
“NORAD provides aerospace security for North America 365 days a year. But on Christmas Eve, it performs the additional mission of tracking Santa around the world,” said Maj. Stacia Reddish, the project officer for NTS.
“The advantage Qwest can give to NORAD as it executes this important mission is that our network is way faster than Santa – and the jet fighters,” said Diana Gowen, senior vice president and general manager of Qwest Government Services.
This tradition has continued and grown every year since. In 2006, the NTS Web site received nearly 1 billion hits from 210 countries and territories, and the NTS Operations Center received nearly 500,000 telephone calls.