Posted on January 11, 2016 by orbital

Min made a new trailer video for 2016, with key modifications to the dates for Liftoff 2016.  Check it out (it’s in the sticky post at the very top when you visit the Orbital website as well).

Registration for Orbital is not yet open, but if you’ve heard the intro in your classes, or just learned about Orbital, stay tuned for information about the Orbital information briefing and how to register here on this website, or via Facebook or in your respective classes’ IVLE forums.

Do start planning to reserve at least the Monday and Tuesday after exams are open to be able to attend the mandatory Liftoff workshop.

If you have specific queries, please contact Min <>.  We will be setting up an FAQ to handle questions about timeline, eligibility, levels of achievement and other details.

[Summary: Go to to fill in your slot availability if you want to interview for 2016 Orbital staff]

Congratulations again to all of the Orbital 2015 graduates.  It’s now your turn to go beyond Earth orbit and be a part of the team to help the next 2016 Orbital cohort accomplish their project goals.

We are currently starting our recruitment drive for Advisers and Tutors, the two roles that you as Orbital alumni are eminently qualified for

  • Advisers acts as peer assessors and cheerleaders for teams taking
    Orbital — you all had the experience of being under their wing this
    past summer.  Here’s your chance to shine and contribute back to your
  • Tutors act as the primary instructor for a mission control session
    or a Liftoff session.  This means you are in control of teaching a
    particular subject for about an hour.  If you wanted to level up on
    public speaking and technical tutorials, this is your opportunity.
    You don’t have to be an expert to teach — anyone can do it if they’re committed, and you can always answer the tough questions offline.We are going to be holding interviews primarily during recess week and
    the weeks directly after.  If you wish to be interviewed for either / both positions, please visit the Doodle form and sign up for an interview slot and indicate which role(s) you want to try for.Looking forward to hearing from you!

    – Min
    (for Orbital staff)

    – I’m going on NOC, can I participate?
    – I’m planning to take a full-time internship, can I participate?
    – I’m not going to be around SG this coming summer, can I participate?

    The answer to these three questions is all the same: Yes for advisers, please apply.  You may know that some advisers were not local during your cohort as well.  The job can be done entirely remotely from NUS.  That said, applicants who are local and who do physically participate in the activities will generally bond better with their teams (unsurprisingly).

    – How much money can I expect to earn as a staff member?

    The monetary remuneration for doing either job is small, but the
    bragging rights and the additional job you can list on your CV/resume
    will hopefully make it worthwhile (aside from the intrinsic goodness
    of helping your fellow SoCian!).

Finally, you’ve made it!  Your summer choose-your-own-adventure is coming to an end!  We’ll be seeing you soon landside at SR1 and SR1 Lobby next Wednesday with your A1 poster in tow.  Mission Control reports the all-clear for your reentry back to NUS, Singapore!  We’ll have a final, three-hour evening session, where all of you are required to participate (this is the very last milestone), in the form of a final Splashdown showcase!

Splashdown is structured as two back-to-back poster sessions with a final oral session and awards section; see the schedule below.  Orbital teams are assigned to one of two sessions to present their work.  During each of the two poster sessions, each team will be presenting their work via a A1 sized poster that you will have to prepare and print (but we will pre-pay for you at SoC Technical Services).

18:00-18:55 Poster Session 1
18:55-19:05 Changeover
19:05-20:00 Poster Session 2
20:00-20:30 Invited Talks 
20:30-21:00 Awards Ceremony

Splashdown will also feature peer voting for best projects.  During the poster sessions, take note of which other teams you think did the best projects and vote for their project electronically using your smart phone or tablet. We’ll tally your votes and announce the winner at the end of Splashdown at the awards ceremony.  Guests (first years, and seniors) are also welcomed to attend and will need to register for the event to be given voting privileges; see the Splashdown page soon, when that information is updated.  Google has kindly sponsored some prizes for the very best projects, as voted by all of you and our observers

Details for Splashdown (such as the final schedule and team allocations) are still ongoing, but you can check on the latest details on the Splashdown page on the Orbital site.

For those who cannot attend due to conflicts, you must let the instruction staff know ahead of time via emailBoth team members must attend the event.  Post-event application for leniency will not be permitted.

Image courtesy Bernard Oh @ Flickr

You’re almost there!  Congrats on making it all the way here.  Yes, we know you still have so many features and refinements to do (and we hope you will do them), but it’s now time to set things aside and make sure you have all of your current work documented for your peers to review this coming week.  Yes, we also know you are doing so many other projects as the summer is coming to an end now.

In the week ahead, you will be judging the final outcome of your peers’ projects too.  Importantly, we need you to turn in your peer evaluations on time.  We need these evaluations on time, as we need to wrap up the Orbital grading, so as to meet the deadlines for assigning the 4 S/U credits for the course (CP3108B).

Look to the recent post by Prof. Lee for the Evaluation 3 milestone criteria for which your project will be graded by.  In the week following your peer review, do keep in mind you will have to do one final evaluation of your peers’ reviews on your project, so that you can give credit and thanks to all of those reviews that were helpful (including your own advisors and mentors).

Good luck!  Stay strong — you’ve come all this way.  Give each other encouragement to stay the course!  There’s only the ultra-fun Splashdown to go!

Welcome to the very last Mission Control!  Our very own NUS Greyhats will be guiding participants in the dangers of putting your applications on the web, and how to secure yourselves from them.  Come and support your very own seniors and learn from their wisdom!

Space WEBponization: Attacking and Defending Your Webcraft

Protecting your web application is like protecting your spacecraft. If one does not do a good job, it may go out with a bang. This presentation looks at how adversaries can attack your web application and how you could mitigate these attacks. In particular, we will be focusing on Cross-site scripting and SQL injection attacks.

Presenter:  Tan Jun Hao, Yeo Quan Yang (NUS Greyhats)
Venue: SoC SR3
Time: 18:00-20:00
Date: 29 Jul 2015

Posted on July 20, 2015 by orbital

In this Mission Control, we learn how to build a game from the ground up in Python (which you already know!), with a focus on setting up the basic infrastructure of a game.  This workshop will be interactive, so please bring your laptops, and try to get PyGame installed and working in your laptops before the session (Setting up PyGame can be a bit of a pain, but it is a one-time thing).

Presenter: Oh Shunhao (NUS Games Development Group)
Venue: SoC SR3
Time: 18:00-20:00
Date: 22 Jul 2015

PyGame Setup instructions

Windows: Python 2.7 – download binary here []

Python 3.4 – download binary here []

Mac: Follow instructions here []

(From what I hear, it seems to be easier to setup for python 2.7. Also recommend installing brew first)

Unix: Haven’t really tried. Try looking here []

To verify that PyGame is working correctly, run this script in python:


Same as below:

# If the test works, you should see a blue circle moving around the screen.
import pygame
screen = pygame.display.set_mode((480,360))
x = 0
y = 0
while True:
    x = (x + 10) % 480
    y = (y + 10) % 360    
    screen.fill((0,0,0)), (0, 127, 255), (x, y), 25)
Artwork courtesy

As we come to the end of the summer and the beginning of Sem 1, many of you may be feeling the pressure to complete Orbital.  Especially those of you participating in summer camps, O Week or other semester-start activities, please do plan your schedule with your partner well, as the last milestone is notorious for causing teams to drop who do not plan ahead.

Well, we’re here to help too.  To help keep the milestones well-spaced, we’re extending the deadline for Milestone 3 back one additional week.  For those who don’t need it, no worries — get it done as planned.  But for those who are feeling the heat of re-entry as we head towards Splashdown, you now have a bit more time before the goalpost.  So to summarise:

Evaluation Milestone 3 is now due on 3 Aug 23:59 SGT.
Peer feedback on Milestone 3 is now due on 10 Aug 23:59 SGT.

(The deadlines on the Orbital calendar on Google Calendar have already been updated, please take note)

Posted on July 13, 2015 by orbital

Photo credits: Andy Mangold @ Flickr

Attention all teams!  It’s only about 1 month to Splashdown! Aside from getting your project all together, you’ll have to showcase it as well.  That got you nervous?

Well, don’t worry.  The famous Dr Damith of our own SoC will be giving his popular lecture on design, which can help you improve your Orbital project’s UI and the crucial Splashdown presentation.  Ace your poster presentation by attending his lecture in person during Mission Control #9 this week on Wednesday, right here in our own SoC SR3!

Presenter: Dr Damith Rajapakse
Venue: SoC SR3
Time: 18:00-20:00
Date: 15 Jul 2015

Posted on July 6, 2015 by orbital

Having trouble navigating the payments landscape?  Or perhaps just interested to learn about payments for your next big thing? Well, this lecture will clear whatever doubts you have about payments in general.

It’s one you don’t want to miss.  Why?  1) It’ll be at a special venue at Paypal, thanks to our mentor alumnus Laurence!  Cool digs!  2) Orbital Alumus and tutor, Yos Riady, will be guest starring in this MC. 3) saving the very best for last — food (Pizza!) will be served.    See you there!

Presenter: PayPal Staff
Date: Wednesday, 8 July 2015
Venue: 5 Temasek Blvd, #07-01 Suntec Tower Five, S(038985)

Time: 18.00 – 20.00

Photo Credits: Philipp Pohle @ Flickr
Photo Credits: Philipp Pohle @ Flickr

Dear all:

Your second Orbital hurdle is here!  Please make sure to put up your project’ revised README and log into Skylab (see Slack later for details on what to put, no later than 29 Jun 11:59pm SGT, but preferably as soon as possible).

Thanks to the groups who have at least put in a preliminary or final project README and log into their EG group.  Note that you need to inform your EG adviser in advance of the deadline if for some reason you cannot make the deadline.  You must inform your advisers in advance, or lateness may count against your eligibility for getting credit for Orbital.

In the following week, you’ll also need to do the peer evaluations of your three peer teams in your evaluation group. These evaluations are due in Skylab no later than 6 Jul 11:59pm (exactly 1 week later).