Tracking Santa on Christmas Eve

NORAD Santa tracking display
NORAD’s Santa Claus tracking website showing Santa’s position last Christmas Eve. Since Christmas Day begins in the Eastern Hemisphere, Santa starts his deliveries in the Far East, Australia and New Zealand, and then proceeds west across the world, racing against sunrise as the Earth rotates eastward.

Did you know that NORAD (the North American Aerospace Defense Command) tracks the progress of Santa Claus as he makes his deliveries to the homes of all good little girls and boys on Christmas Eve? NORAD keeps the Abominable Snowman, the mean Mr. Grinch, and Jack Frost from spoiling Santa’s big flight, which NORAD designates as “Big Red One.” You can track Santa’s journey around the world on NORAD’s Santa Tracking Website. We invite you to see the following video about the history of NORAD’s role in Christmas and how NORAD helps Santa to this very day!

An airman tracking Big Red One at NORAD
An airman tracking Big Red One at NORAD

You should also check out Google’s online Santa Tracker! In addition to tracking Santa’s progress on Christmas Eve, this site features a nice Advent calendar you and your children can access now, complete with the sort of games Google is famous for. For example, you can learn how people in different countries pronounce Santa’s name and learn how to dance with elves!

Christmas is a time for celebrating friends and family, and remembering those no longer with us. One gentleman we should all remember at Christmastime was Ewald E. (Sig) Seignemartin, who helped start the NORAD tradition of tracking Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. His favorite job on the DEW Line was that once a year he entered a blip on the radar screen, labeled it “Santa Claus,” and had started the NORAD tracking followed by children and adults around the world until Santa visited each home. Read more about Ewald…

Finally, if you find that Santa needs a little help delivering presents to everyone on your list, remember that Name A Star Live is Santa’s official star-naming service! 🙂 You can name a star 24/7 — even on Christmas Day — with Name A Star Live’s Instant Gift Sets: Just download, print and give!


Throw a star party!

Space costumes
Consider throwing a space costume party! Image Credit: NASA/Sean Smith

Looking for new ideas for entertaining guests? Maybe your child has a birthday coming up, you want to have a few co-workers from the office over, or you’d like to celebrate a special occasion with family and friends? Then throw a star party! Name A Star Live can help. Here are some ideas:

Show your friends where your star is in the night sky

Using our Virtual Planetarium astronomy software you can see when your star’s constellation will be visible. Plan for a rain date — a backup date — for your party, just in case Mother Nature clouds over your night sky.

Friends stargazingShow your star, the Moon and planets with your telescope

Again, using our Virtual Planetarium software you can see when the Moon and planets will be visible as well — think how neat it would be to show your guests the rings of Saturn! Don’t own a telescope? See our blog article about telescope buying tips. Your Name A Star Live Star Chart shows the position of your star within its constellation.

Space birthday cake
A space-themed birthday cake! Image Credit:
Astronaut ice cream
Image Credit:

Party supplies for the kids

Mars bars and Milky Way bars are always a good choice for a star party.

Kids like freeze dried astronaut ice cream and freeze dried astronaut fruit packs. But as an alternative, consider getting your kids to make their own astronaut pudding.

There are all sorts of decorations and fun activities for the kids you can create yourself.  Visit this “PBS Parents” webpage for some really neat ideas for a space-themed birthday party.

Space drink
A space-themed mixed drink for adults. Image Credit:

Party supplies for adults

There’s a lot of overlap between party supplies for kids and adults. But for the adults at your party you’ll likely want to provide some space-themed cocktails and finger foods.

There are many websites that provide recipes for space-themed cocktails and food. Click here and here for some sites we like. But you can just prepare common cocktails and give them spacey names, like the “Moon Shot,” the “Romulan Fizz,” or the “Milky Way.” And for fans of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy you’ll find a number of recipes online for the famous “Pangalactic Gargleblaster” that, in the Hitchhikers Guide, was invented by ex-President of the Universe Zaphod Beeblebrox! See, for example, this recipe.

Black light party
A black light helps set the scene for an out-of-this-world party!

Other Ideas

Use a black light to set an eery space mood!

Play some space-themed music — perhaps music from 2001: A Space Odyssey or from other sci-fi greats.

Consider offering a door prize: Perhaps Name A Star Live’s Virtual Planetarium astronomy software, or a Planisphere constellation finder.

A few days before your party, check out NASA’s easy-t0-use “Spot the Station” website to see if the International Space Station will fly overhead during your star party. It’s easy to see — even inside bright cities! To see what other satellites — such as the Hubble Space Telescope — that will fly overhead during your party, check out

Have fun!

How to throw a space party

Name A Star for Your Dog on National Dog Day

Dog with womanMany people name stars after their departed canine friends. On National Dog Day — August 26 in the U.S. — we celebrate the love and companionship that every dog owner enjoys with:

  • A beautiful, touching dog video we’re sure you will find moving;
  • Some of the messages our customers have written on their Star Certificates in memory of their departed dogs;
  • The famous “Rainbow Bridge” poem.

Give your dog an extra treat today and name a star for your best friend!

And consider our sister company, Celestis Pets, which can fly a symbolic portion of your dog’s ashes into space!

If I Could Talk, Amazing Dog Short Film

Stars Names and Messages Written by Our Customers:

For a star named “Kona”
In Memory of Kona She was your friend, your protector, your defender, your dog. You were her life, her love, her leader. She was yours faithful and true, to the last beat of her heart.

DogFor a star named “Sofie”
Dogs are miracles with paws – she’ll be forever missed.

For a star named “Domino’s Whisper on the Wind”
Many dogs may walk in and out of our lives, but only a true companion like you were will leave footprints on our hearts. We love and miss you sweet Maggie.

For a star named “Benny the Beagle”
This is in honor of our trusty beagle Benny. He was a good dog and will watch over us from above…

For a star named “Remo & Romolo”
Now you will always be able to look up at night and see Remo & Romolo looking down on you. In memory of the most amazing & loyal dogs.

Buttercup the dog
Buttercup, Name A Star Live’s mascot, cooling off on a dog day afternoon

For a star named “Mercy”
Words can not express our deepest sympathy and regret over the tragic loss of your dog. We hope that Mercy’s shining star will remind you of the joy and love she gave to you.

For a star named “Jack One Lucky Dog”
Look up in the sky! No matter where you are, Jack will always be there to protect and guard you. That’s what Best Friends do. xoxoxo

For a star named “Echo”
For the dog that lived “the life.” All because he was blessed with greatest mother a dog could ask for. He will always be with you.

Dog on grass for National Dog Day

The Rainbow Bridge Poem

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor;
those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again,
just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing;
they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance.
His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers.
Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass,
his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet,
you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy
kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head,
and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet,
so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….

Author unknown


Making you part of real space missions!

Name A Star Live is the only star naming service that launches your star name into space: We make you part of real space missions! Imagine naming a star for a family member, a friend or an employee and letting them know their star name will actually fly in the Final Frontier! Is that cool or what?

Viewing a launch at Cape Canaveral
Viewing a launch is an exciting experience — especially when your star name is on board!  Image Credit: NASA

Missions currently scheduled for this year

We have two missions currently scheduled for liftoff in 2016:

1.) The Starseeker Flight — a flight from Spaceport America, New Mexico in November; and
2.) The Heritage Flight — a flight into Earth orbit from Cape Canaveral, Florida — the cradle of the American space program — in the fourth quarter of the year.

You can attend the launch in person or watch it online. After each mission we provide you a letter-size, Digital Launch Certificate that you can download and print.

Launch Certificate
Your Launch Certificate will display your star name & information about the launch.

The flight from Spaceport America will follow a trajectory like the early NASA spaceflights in the 1960s: Your star name will fly into space and return to Earth.

You’ll be able to track the Earth orbital flight from Cape Canaveral live, online as the satellite carrying your star name orbits our home planet!

Satellite ground track
You’ll be able to track your star name’s flight online as the satellite orbits Earth.
Spaceport America, New Mexico
Spaceport America, New Mexico

Please note that launch dates can change for a variety of reasons, so please check our online Launch Schedule often to get the latest launch news. Also, please note that while we are often able to provide a live webcast of our launches, sometimes webcasting from remote locations like Spaceport America can prove to be a challenge. In any event, we post launch video as soon as possible after each launch.

Naming a star makes for a wonderful, timeless gift for a birthday, anniversary, graduation, Christmas or other occasion. While star naming is a symbolic gesture, Name A Star Live makes it real by including your star name on board rockets that carry scientific or commercial payloads. Learn how, exactly, we do this…

Name a star today!

Celebrating our Centennial Flight anniversary

Centennial Flight launch
Launch of Name A Star Live’s Centennial Flight, June 2013, Spaceport America, New Mexico

This is the third anniversary of the launch of Name A Star Live’s Centennial Flight, which was named in honor of the 100th anniversary of New Mexico’s statehood. The launch took place at Spaceport America, New Mexico and carried the star names and messages of our customers into space! Name A Star Live is the only star naming service that makes you part of a real space mission.

Like the clients of our sister company, Celestis memorial spaceflights, Name A Star Live customers had the opportunity to tour the launch pad and mission control, view the liftoff, meet Name A Star Live company personnel, and enjoy the many tourist attractions and the beautiful scenery of New Mexico, which is known appropriately as the “Land of Enchantment.”

A coupleSo many people wrote such nice Star Certificate messages for this mission! Below are some of the flown messages from our customers’ Star Certificates. Note that we’ve changed the names in these messages to protect our customers’ privacy:

  • This is to let you know that not only will you always hold a place in my heart, but you will forever have your own place in the sky. I love you.
  • You are such a light to me, reflecting and pointing to the heart of God. Here’s to celebrating the last year, and us! 🙂
  • This star shall shine as long as our love will last. 🙂
  • Love begins in a moment, grows over time, and lasts for eternity.
  • Congratulations on your Bar Mitzvah! – What a joyous occasion that you will remember for the rest of your life.
  • I name this star after Mary J. Smith on the Date of our wedding; may this star always shine bright in the heavens like the love she shows me shines in my heart forever
  • Happy Birthday Grandpa! Now your amazing legacy will live on forever as your star shines in the night’s sky. I love you so much.
  • Happy 25th Anniversary! All these years and you bring such love and light into my life…our lives. You fill my heart with gratitude and joy.
  • Just look at the stars and we’ll remember that we are always there for one another. Pure Joy is the only thing that can describe our friendship and sisterhood.
  • I wanted to give you a gift that would always be there as a shining remembrance of Janet.

The mission flew aboard an UP Aerospace SpaceLoft XL launch vehicle, which has flown each of Name A Star Live’s missions out of Spaceport America. The spacecraft followed a trajectory like that flown by the astronauts on NASA’s early Gemini missions by flying into space and, after experiencing the zero gravity environment, returning to Earth. The Centennial Flight flew to an altitude of 73.9 miles (118.9 kilometers) and landed at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico approximately 23 miles (37 kilometers) downrange.

This was the 12th overall spaceflight of our parent company, Space Services, Inc. You can always find the latest information about our upcoming missions by visiting our online Launch Schedule.

Here is a short video of the Centennial Flight launch provided by Celestis:

Top Ten Father’s Day Star Messages

Father and DaughterFather’s Day is Sunday, June 19 in the U.S., Canada, Japan, China, India, the U.K., Ireland, Mexico and many other countries.  Here are some of the Father’s Day messages Name A Star Live customers have included on their Star Certificates.  (Of course, we’ve changed the names in the messages to protect the privacy of our customers.)

  1. I have named a star just for you, papa.  Please show me where it is so I can always look up into the heavens and think of you when I see it.  I love you!
  2. My daddy has loved the night sky since he was a boy, a passion he has passed down to me. Now I share my love for him by claiming his very own piece of that sky, another beautiful thing for us to share together.
  3. We searched heaven and earth to find the perfect gift for the man who has everything and at last we found it.  So in honor of Father’s Day, we present you with your very own star.
  4. Everyday we think of you and the good memories we have because of you. You are sacrificing for us and we appreciate that very much. To bridge the distance this Father’s Day we send you this gift. We love you so much and wish you a happy fathers day.
  5. Ursa Major: the “big bear” of the sky, because you have always watched over your little cubs 🙂 Happy Father’s Day Dad!
  6. This star is forever in the sky to celebrate your very 1st Fathers Day.   Happy Fathers Day, I love you
  7. I will never forget wishing on stars with you as a little girl. Here’s to all the past, present and future wishes we make. Happy Father’s Day, I love you.
  8. Happy Father’s Day.  Thank you for every single thing you have done for me over the course of my life.  I know you love space, now a small part of it is named after you.  Love, Mike
  9. This is for the Greatest Dad in the Universe.
  10. To my stargazing husband.  You are my star of 21 years.  I love You!

Name A Star Live is the only star-naming service that launches your star name into space: Won’t dad be surprised! The video above shows our latest spaceflight, The Tribute Flight. See our online Launch Schedule….

Name a star for Father’s Day!

Our green, name-a-star space launches

Astronaut in Earth orbit
Name A Star Live makes you part of a real space mission!

Name A Star Live is the only star naming service that launches your star name into space! But did you know that our space missions are eco-friendly?

Our launches don’t pollute the atmosphere.
Here is how our launches work: We save our star database onto a data storage device. We then ship this device to the facility where the rocket is assembled. Technicians integrate the device into the rocket as a “secondary payload” — we ‘piggyback’ on rockets that carry scientific or communications “primary payloads” into space. Those rockets will fly with their primary payloads whether we’re on board or not. It’s like we are car-pooling — perhaps “rocket-pooling” — into space.

Apollo 17 View of EarthOur missions don’t pollute outer space.
Our spacecraft are carefully designed so as not to create orbital debris. Each Earth-orbiting spacecraft stays permanently attached to a rocket stage that orbits Earth until the spacecraft harmlessly re-enters and is completely consumed by Earth’s atmosphere — blazing like a shooting star!

For missions that are launched aboard a commercially purchased launcher, the Office of Commercial Space Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration issues a license that verifies that our payload does not contribute to orbital debris. For missions not subject to FAA approval, we voluntarily follow the same guidelines that prevent orbital pollution from our missions.

Save money – and the Earth – with our Instant Gifts!
Name A Star Live offers two types of gift sets:

  • Keepsake Gifts are printed and shipped to you (or to your gift recipient).
  • Instant Gifts are provided to you via the Internet: You download your letter-size Star Certificate and any other documents you may add on. You can then print these documents, or display them on your computer, digital photo frame or other device. The PDF documents you download are the same PDF files we would use to print and ship a Keepsake Gift to you. So you get the same quality documents, but because we don’t physically ship them to you, we’re not using packaging or burning fossil fuels to deliver your gift.

Our Earth Orbit missions launch out of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This video shows the significant natural habitat that adjoins the high tech launch facilities at the Cape and at the Kennedy Space Center.

Your star’s astronomical coordinates, explained

Star Certificate
Name A Star Live Star Certificate

All Name A Star Live gift sets include a letter-size Star Certificate that displays the name of your star, what the star is named in honor of (such as a graduation, anniversary, etc.), the star’s registration date, a personal message you write for your gift recipient, and the astronomical coordinates of your star. Continue reading “Your star’s astronomical coordinates, explained”

Name that mission!

Conestoga Flight mission patch
Conestoga Flight mission patch

We invite you to suggest a name for our next mission where we will fly our customers’ star names into space.  The mission is scheduled for launch on November 5, 2015 and will fly from Spaceport America, New Mexico, where we have flown several times before. The winner of the contest will receive a mission patch that we have flown in space, together with a certificate of authenticity! Continue reading “Name that mission!”