The 2009 White House Christmas Ornament
The only president of the United States elected to two non-consecutive terms, Grover Cleveland served as the 22nd president from 1885 to 1889 and as the 24th from 1893 to 1897. The 2009 White House ornament commemorates the 24th presidency and it is the second of two produced in Cleveland’s honor by the White House Historical Association.
The satellite tracking group from the International, Space & Response (ISR) Division of Los Alamos National Laboratory again will be tracking Santa Claus’ whereabouts on Christmas Eve. To monitor Santa’s progress as he races around the world delivering presents and goodies to good children everywhere, we will be using the satellite tracking dishes in the high mountains of Los Alamos, New Mexico, as well as sensors on the FORTE satellite and the most recently launched Cibola Flight Experiment (CFE) satellite. In addition, the U.S. Air Force, with nine tracking stations around the world, will also help us monitor Santa’s travels.
How are we able to track Santa with our satellite? The FORTE satellite is in a highly inclined, 70-degree (measure of the angle between the orbit plane and the plane of the Earth’s equator) orbit. The satellite’s altitude above the Earth’s surface is 500 miles. From this orbit, the satellite travels between the latitudes of +/- 70 degrees and can monitor the whole world for signs of Santa and his reindeer crew whenever they are in view. The CFE satellite will augment the FORTE tracking. While CFE is inclined only 35-degree and is only 315 miles above the Earth, it can see parts of the Earth that are not available to FORTE to provide more persistent Santa monitoring.
We believe that Rudoph’s glowing, bright red nose puts out optical and infrared light that makes him easy to detect, allowing an optical camera on FORTE to give us a glimpse of Santa and his team. Also, the Federal Aviation Administration requires Santa to fly with a radio transponder on his sleigh, similar to what airplanes use, to ensure flight safety around the world. This transponder can be detected with the radio receiver that flies onboard both the FORTE and CFE satellites.
(Times are based on local Mountain Standard Time in Los Alamos, New Mexico, USA)
Pilot: Santa Claus Co-Pilot: Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer Aircraft: North Pole Sleigh 201 Weight w/ Cargo: ~73,500 lbs.
Departure: At 6 am Santa Claus departs from the North Pole and heads west towards the International Date Line
7 am: Siberia 8 am: Japan 9 am: Philippines
10 am: Australia 11 am: China Noon: India
1 pm: Russia 2 pm: Europe 3 pm: Scandinavia
4 pm: British Islands 5 pm: Africa 6 pm: South America
7 pm: Mexico 8 pm: Nova Scotia 9 pm: New England
10 pm: Chicago 11 pm: Mid-West Midnight: New Mexico