Take Off with Operation Airlift!

Adler Planetarium's Teen Airship Design Competition

Coming December 7, 2019!

Come put your design, engineering, and circuits skills to work at the Adler Planetarium's Operation Airlift on Saturday, December 7, 2019! At this design-engineering competition, teams of students will compete with each other to design and build the best possible remotely-controlled airship. Join us for this fun day, where you'll get to connect with other students, local scientists, and Adler Planetarium staff. View pictures from past events!

Big picture

Operation Airlift 2019

Saturday, Dec. 7th, 10am-4pm

2700 South Western Avenue

Chicago, IL


Adler is currently accepting applications from Chicago-based schools and youth-serving organizations that are interested in bringing a team or teams to participate in this event. All participants will receive lunch and snacks during the day, as well as t-shirts. No prior experience is necessary! For full consideration please apply by November 10th.


We’re calling on adult volunteers to help make this event a success! Sign up to join us during this event to support and celebrate young designers as they build a payload to guide and control our high-altitude weather balloon!

We’re looking for volunteers for a variety of roles, including but not limited to:

• Youth Team Mentors

• Event Set-Up | Break down

• Lunch Service

• Event Day Registration

• Tech Support

• Competition Judge

• And More!

To apply you must:

• Enjoy working in collaboration with young people ages 11-18.

• Submit completed background check form by end of day November 5, 2019.

• Be available to attend a mandatory orientation session.

Two orientation session dates are available. Please select the date that works best for your schedule. Refreshments will be provided. Dates are Wednesday, November 20th 5:30pm-8:pm or Saturday, November 23rd 2:00pm-4:30pm


Is there an age limit to participate in the event?

Operation Airlift is open to students in grades 6 through 12. Middle school and high school teams to compete in separately scored brackets. Each team consists of 6-9 teens and one volunteer STEM mentor.

Is there transportation support available?

We will be able to fund a limited number of buses for large groups to attend the event!

Do I need to know or bring anything to participate?

No prior experience or equipment is necessary: Adler will provide all supplies.

When will I know if my team application has been accepted?

You will be apprised of your application status by November 9th.

Questions? Please email youthprograms@adlerplanetarium.org