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What’s Powering Santa’s Sleigh This Christmas Eve?

Santa'sSleigh_NORADAs I am typing this post, Santa Claus has already begun delivering gifts to children in another part of the world. Given the number of improvements in fuel economy and smart vehicle technology, I wonder if even Santa Claus has given any thought to replacing his magical sleigh with a new and improved model. Perhaps one that gets better mileage? Then it occurred to me that his riding vehicle is off the charts when compared to the latest vehicles available today – and is also propelled by reindeer power (rp).

The folks at the North American Aerospace Defense Command (better known as NORAD) offer some information about Santa’s ride that may be helpful. First it is about 75 candy canes (cc) long, 40 cc wide and 55 cc high. There is no mention of an internal combustion engine or the use of natural gas, electric, hydrogen, dual-fuels, biofuels, etc. However, the emissions are classified, putting this vehicle in a very special category. Another unique feature of the sleigh is that it is capable of traveling great distances without refueling.

While the mathematical factor to convert rp to horsepower (hp) has not been determined, the fuel source for this herd of flying reindeers is a special mix of hay, oats, and carrots that are included as cargo on the sleigh. This special fuel mix assists the team in reaching a climbing speed of one “T” (twinkle of an eye), and a maximum speed that is faster than starlight.

There is no mention of the GPS or tracking device that is included on the sleigh, however, like a number of unknown data points related to Santa, his elves, the North Pole, or his ride, this technology is also classified and a secret! However, his delivery record is better than UPS or FedX.

This December, fueled by comments in the media, a number of folks became preoccupied with Santa’s ethnicity and skin color! Given the science and technology that surrounds the real Santa, and his ability to create magic for children around the world every Christmas Eve – navigating all types of chimneys and other entrances, knowing every delivery address, and eating all of those snacks without once getting sick – are more intriguing to me. For sure, if he can do all of the above, at any time during his annual trip he can also take on the physical looks of you or me. After all he’s Santa Claus!

Many thanks to the folks at NORAD (www.noradsanta.org) for the information gleaned in preparing this post as well as the great work that they do every day.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

About Vi Brown

Vi is principal and CEO of Prophecy Consulting Group, LLC, an Arizona firm that provides business and engineering services to private and public clients. Prior to establishing her consulting practice in 2001, Vi worked with Motorola, Maricopa County Government, Pacific Gas & Electric, CH2M Hill, and Procter & Gamble. As an adjunct faculty member, Vi teaches undergraduate calculus classes and graduate level environmental courses. She is also a professional speaker.



  1. Pingback: NUMBERS: Santa Math for 2016 Package Delivery | BridgeBizSTEM - December 24, 2016

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