Researchers Calculate How Santa’s Sleigh Could Fly With NASA’s Saturn V Rocket

santa rocket sleigh
A new study claims that Santa's sleigh could indeed fly with some Boeing 747 wings and a Saturn V rocket engine, without the aid of any Christmas spirit. Physics students found their inspiration for the study from the 2003 Elf movie, where Santa has to use a jet engine to power his sleigh.

It is that time of year again when children all around the world await the arrival of jolly ole St. Nick in his sleigh pulled by reindeer. But, what if Santa didn't have his magical flying reindeer? How would he be able to deliver all those presents? A group of physics students took on the problem in a new study published in the University of Leicester's Physics Special Topics, and believe Santa could slap on some wings and a rocket engine to solve the problem.

The students performed a study on the aerodynamics of Santa's sleigh and found that if you added two Boeing 747 aircraft wings to create the necessary lift, and a Saturn V rocket engine to provide the thrust required, Santa could indeed give Rudolph and the rest of the reindeer a vacation.

The study assumed that Santa would be using a 19th-century British naval sled weighing around 1400 pounds. The students also included the weight of all the presents, but left out the weight of the reindeer and Santa because they determined them to be "negligible."

In order to get the sleigh off the ground, it would need to be moving at about 10 times the speed of sound, or 12,300 mph. In order to reach this type of speed, the students employed a Saturn V rocket engine. The Saturn V was used for the Apollo missions in the 1960s and 1970s.

saturn v launch
Saturn V rocket launch

"We have concluded that Santa's jet engine must be extremely powerful and as a result he and the elves must have access to advanced technologies," Ryan Rowe, one of the paper's authors, stated.

The authors of the study concluded by stating, "In this paper we have estimated that in order for Santa to replace Christmas spirit with a jet engine. He would have to produce a speed of his sleigh of 5500(±1700)ms-1. This would require the engine to produce a thrust of 3.8(±2.2) × 107N, therefore Santa must have had access to a new type of jet engine technology capable of replacing the effects of Christmas spirit."