Santa Claus to fly by the International Space Station

December 16, 2020  - By

Santa Claus will be performing a ceremonial fly-by of the International Space Station (ISS) on Dec. 24. The visit will honor the 20th anniversary of continuous life on the ISS, a milestone achieved in November.

The official NORAD Santa Tracker at will allow users to track Santa’s journey all day on Dec. 24. New for this year, visitors will be able to see the ISS orbiting the planet in its precise real-time location by zooming out on the 3D Santa Tracker app. Other updates include additions to Santa’s traditional garb, including a face mask and space helmet.

Santa's sleigh flying past the International Space Station on a precise digital twin of the Earth built by Cesium. (Photo: Cesium)

Santa’s sleigh flying past the International Space Station on a precise digital twin of the Earth built by Cesium. (Photo: Cesium)

“The ISS is a spectacular example of what humans can accomplish when we work together,” said Hannah Pinkos, lead developer of the app. “2020 has been a tough year, but I think this special trip is Santa’s way of reminding us to believe in ourselves.”

NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, is a United States and Canada bi-national organization that defends North America by tracking objects flying in and around its airspace 24 hours a day using radar, satellites and fighter jets. Each year, it joins corporate partners in taking on a special mission to also track Santa’s sleigh. The app shows Santa’s position reflected on a digital twin of the Earth provided by Cesium, a Philadelphia-based geospatial software company.

“Cesium is rooted in aerospace, so it’s especially meaningful to us that our technology will allow millions of people to enjoy this event in real-time from the safety of their homes,” added Cesium CEO Patrick Cozzi.

About the Author: Allison Kral

Allison Kral is the former digital media manager for North Coast Media (NCM). She completed her undergraduate degree at Ohio University where she received a Bachelor of Science in magazine journalism from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. She works across a number of digital platforms, which include creating e-newsletters, writing articles and posting across social media sites. She also creates content for NCM's Pit & Quarry magazine, Portable Plants magazine and Geospatial Solutions. Her understanding of the ever-changing digital media world allows her to quickly grasp what a target audience desires and create content that is appealing and relevant for any client across any platform.