NORAD’s Santa makes first known visit to International Space Station


Santa knows astronauts need presents, too, and made his first known visit to the International Space Station to deliver them this year.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), which tracks Santa’s Christmas Eve journey every year, depicted in a tweet Santa arriving at the International Space Station on Christmas Eve.

“Thanks to the magic of Santa’s sleigh, he is making a special stop on his trip this year, to the International Space Station,” the narrator says, according to the video. “NORAD satellites have spotted Santa on a true path straight to the ISS and the astronauts who are living and working on board.”

The Federal Aviation Administration cleared Santa for the flight to space on Wednesday, providing him “for the first time ever” with a special commercial space license.

“We are pleased to help Santa safely navigate through the National Airspace System to bring his unique and universal brand of good will and joy to children and adults of all ages—even to those orbiting the Earth,” FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said in a press release. “Let’s face it, 2020 was a difficult year and we all could use some special holiday cheer that only Santa can deliver.”

Santa also pledged to wear a face mask during his flight this year “to set a good example for everyone who is traveling by air this holiday season,” according to the FAA.

NORAD was forced to reduce the number of volunteers staffing the official Santa tracking project this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, which mainly impacts the toll-free number associated with the updates. Santa’s journey is still trackable online at

By Thursday afternoon, he’d already delivered more than 2.5 million gifts.

Tags Christmas International Space Station NORAD Tracks Santa North American Aerospace Defense Command Santa Claus
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