Thursday, December 24, 1998 Published at 02:10 GMT
Satellites track Santa
Santa is a busy man on Christmas Eve
On Christmas Eve hundreds of thousands of children will be tracking Santa Claus on the Internet thanks to North American military satellites.
"It's a thumbs up for Santa's move into cyber space," said Danny Meadows-Klue of The UK's Electronic Telegraph.
Norad has been monitoring Santa's progress on Christmas Eve since the 1950s, but this year's satellite-to-Internet link-up is bringing the latest technological tools to Santa watchers.
Realising what had happened, Colonel Shoup had his staff check radar data to see if there was any indication of Santa making his way South from the North Pole. There was and a tradition was born.
Norad is responsible for warning of any missile launches against America or Canada but at Christmas time all their computer wizardry is used to track Santa's sleigh.
But because Santa tends not to file a flight plan, Norad has to confirm the identity of the "unknown" Christmas object by scrambling two Canadian jets to the far North of Canada.
As he travels through North America, Norad's extensive radar networks keeps tabs on him. As he travels further away, their satellites, 22,300 miles above the Earth's surface, pick up the trail.
Norad's Website explains how Santa makes his marathon journey all in a single night. "The fact that Santa Claus is more than 15 centuries old and does not appear to age is our biggest clue that he does not work within time as we know it.
"His Christmas Eve trip may seem to take around 24 hours, but to Santa it could be that it lasts days, weeks or months. The only logical conclusion is that Santa somehow functions on a different time and space continuum."
"The spy magazine allegation is outrageous," he told the BBC. "We know Santa delivers those presents on Christmas Eve as reliably as we know that Rudolf's nose is red. He obviously resorts to all sorts of leading edge technology - heat shields to protect the reindeer and warp drives."
Santa will be tracked passing some familiar landmarks around the world, including the Mir space station and New York's Statue of Liberty. His position will be updated hourly during his worldwide trip.