Kian Arian Ben-Jacob poses with a model rocket
Kian Arian Ben-Jacob

The saying goes “The sky’s the limit.”

But for University of Utah mechanical engineering student Kian Arian Ben-Jacob, the sky is not so much a limit, but the place where research discoveries are made.

Ben-Jacob is the president of the Aerospace Club at the U, as well as a member of the Utah Rocketry Club. A stellar student, Ben-Jacob recently represented the U at the 2023 Spaceport America Cup competition, the world’s largest Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition for student rocketry teams. This year, 158 teams from colleges and universities from 24 different countries competed. Students launch solid, liquid, and hybrid rockets to target altitudes of 10,000 and 30,000 feet, according to the competition’s website.

For Ben-Jacob, his passion for space exploration and technology has been with him since he was a child, he said. But it wasn’t until he got his pilot’s license that he had the urge to pursue studying mechanical engineering and aeronautics.

“My excitement to go into the field grew exponentially after seeing the rockets of SpaceX and hearing about NASA’s Artemis missions,” he said. “I also believe that space technologies are going to be the next internet and it would be awesome to be a part of it.”

Ben-Jacob said studying mechanical engineering and aeronautics has given him confidence in his understanding of physics and math that he originally never believed were good enough to be useful.

“My experience at the U has changed that and taught me that solving challenging problems is very satisfying, and it has motivated me to be as educated as possible,” he said. “Hearing about all the advancements in the various STEM fields is inspiring and makes me ambitious for an epic future for humanity. It has also shown me that I can be a good leader by being able to communicate effectively. Throughout this journey, I have found that my ability to communicate is one of the most valuable skills I have developed and am proud of.”

Continue reading Xoel Cardenas’ story on @theU.