I wish everyone a Merry Christmas.





Directorate of Public Affairs, Headquarters, North American Aerospace
Defense Command

250 S. Peterson Blvd, Suite 116, Peterson AFB, Colo.  80914-3190
Phone: (719) 554-6889  DSN:  692-6889

NORAD Web Site Address: www.norad.mil and www.noradsanta.org  
December 4, 2002


NORAD Headquarters, Peterson AFB, Colo: North Pole and NORAD officials
have reached an unprecedented agreement allowing the men and women of
NORAD to conduct a full-blown test flight with Santa and all nine
reindeer on December 18, 2002. 

"We did a small-scale test last year, but used only two of our four
methods of Santa Tracking - the test lasted just a few minutes," said
Major-General Eric Findley, NORAD Director of Operations. "This year we
will test three of the four methods of our tracking system. The test is
scheduled to last 30 minutes and will definitely add to our precision
tracking of Santa Claus."

The NORAD Santa sleigh-test flight will begin with lift off at the North
Pole; NORAD radar will detect Santa mere seconds after his lift off.
After that, Santa will zip over the Northwest Territories to the Yukon.
About 200 miles (320 kilometres) from the Yukon-Alaskan border, two
CF-18s from Canada's Air Force will intercept and escort Santa to Alaska
where they will hand off to two American F-15s. The F-15s will fly with
Santa for 200 miles, at which time Santa will increase his speed to
Christmas-Eve-Velocity en route back to the North Pole. From lift off
until Santa's return to the North Pole, NORAD will test the satellite
systems to track the infrared signature of Rudolph's bright nose. 

The famous fourth method of Santa Tracking - SantaCams - will not be
used in the Santa sleigh-test as they are currently being deployed
around the world in preparation for Christmas Eve.

Media wishing to make the arduous trek to the North Pole to witness the
NORAD Santa sleigh-test flight are requested to call Major Douglas
Martin, Chief of NORAD Santa Tracking Operations, to reserve one of the
limited seats aboard our C-464646 Santa Craft.

Media can pre-tape interviews about NORAD tracking Santa or pre-arrange
Christmas Eve live interviews with NORAD personnel by calling
719-554-6889.  Additional information on NORAD is available at
www.norad.mil or about NORAD and Santa at  wwww.noradsanta.org 


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