RAF Fylingdales working 24/7 over Christmas tracking space objects ... and Santa!

The Space Operations Room inside the RADAR.
The Space Operations Room inside the RADAR.

While Santa’s elves are working hard and most working people are taking a break over the festive season, staff at Royal Air Force Fylingdales will be working 24/7.

The ballistic missile early warning station can track objects in space up to 3,000 nautical miles away, the RADAR operators are able to see the International Space Station and objects as small as a can of coke, or Christmas cracker.

Wing Commander Al Walton, Station Commander RAF Fylingdales with Jasper.

Wing Commander Al Walton, Station Commander RAF Fylingdales with Jasper.

Vigilamus is the Station motto and translates as ‘we are watching’ - the military and civilian operators do this 365 days a year providing a continuous watch over space.

The Solid State Phased Array RADAR is one of many sensors that tracks space debris and enables satellites to operate safely. It replaced the icons of the moors, the three mechanical golf balls, 26 years ago.

The pyramid has now become a famous landmark on the road from Whitby to Pickering.

Wing Commander Alun Walton said: “RAF Fylingdales is proud to provide security for the UK and this doesn’t stop during the Christmas period.

The Solid State Phased Array RADAR at RAF Fylingdales.

The Solid State Phased Array RADAR at RAF Fylingdales.

“The close relationship between military and civilian staff continues in order to maintain the Station’s operational output - not least tracking Santa on Christmas Eve.”

Follow the RAF base’s activities on Twitter and Instagram @RAFFylingdales.