Posted on August 24, 2016 by orbital

Photo credits from: Zig Ziglar @ Flickr

Congratulations to all of the 147 Orbitee teams for completing the programme!  You’re the big winners in forming your own projects and navigating through all the summer hazards to finish your projects.  No doubt that you had wanted to call it quits at some point and wanted to have someone to help guide you a bit more closely.  But you persevered, insisted that you would stay the course, and won the battle against yourself.  You realised the only barrier to your progress was yourself and the fuel was your self-ignited passion.  You return from your summer journey changed, more confident of your own abilities and clear about how you can find your path forward in any technical scenario.

Splashdown featured a number of ways that you can take your work in Orbital forward, which both SoC (through our Entrepreneurship office) and the University (NUS Enterprise, especially NUS Overseas Colleges) have paved for you.  Do weigh these opportunities and assess whether they are appropriate for you.

And now for the formal awards:

  • For Vostok:
    Congratulations to Kabir Khandpur and Gupta Varun of Blue Circle Co. (Winners); Loh Zi Bin Robin and Huang Jifen of O(my god) (Honorable Mention)For Project Gemini:
    Congratulations to Jaipal Singh Khaira and Wu Tingfeng of RainyWhether (Winners); Kwok Jun Kiat and Tan Jun Kiat of JFK (Honorable Mention)For Apollo 11:
    Congratulations to Ng Yong Sheng and Chan Yu Feng of No Break, No Brake  (Winners); Ngin Yun Chuan and Conan Kian Jia Ren of DARTHWHALE (Honorable Mention)

    and for Best Advisers:
    Bay Chuan Wei, Candiie and Harish Venkatesan (both advisers to eight teams)

Although you are the stars of Orbital (yes, you are!), there’s a whole host of SoC 24 advisers, 20+ industrial and alumni mentors, staff, building facilities, A/V, alumni, senior students and student groups and the tireless admin staff from the Undergraduate Office and Corporate Relations that make this happen.  This programme does not happen anywhere else in the whole currently, so be proud that you are here in NUS SoC.  Go SoC!

– Orbital Staff

Posted on May 23, 2016 by orbital

Ever wanted to try your hand at creating a game?  Now’s your chance!

To those coming for the Mission Control, do try to get SFML set up and working before (directions in the document). If you can compile this, all is good.

The two videos of the session are here:



Other media from the event!


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.

Posted on July 31, 2014 by orbital

Dear students:

We’re almost at the end of Orbital!  We hope your summer self-study journey has been productive and that you have learned and broadened your horizons significantly on the topic of your choice.  Now that you’ve finished the final official Project README, video and log, it’s time to wrap up by evaluating your peers, and preparing for Splashdown on 22 Aug (Friday).

We’ll be posting a separate announcement about Splashdown later next week but for now, let’s concentrate on the evaluation of peer feedback.  This is the (very quick 1 question) evaluation that you do to assess how useful your peers have been in their feedback and critique of your project.  You’ll need to evaluate your peers as well as your adviser on this.  Details about this process are available on Post @1273 in Piazza and also as an 11-minute video recording on YouTube.

A quick note:  Those of you trying for higher levels of achievement may plan to get a lot more done on your project between now and Splashdown to meet that level of achievements’ criteria.  That’s fine — your peers will evaluate you on what you’ve done up to Evaluation 3, but you can petition (by writing to your adviser or to us (Min and Wee Sun) directly) to have your project re-reviewed for the higher level of achievement.  Make sure to do this by Splashdown (22 Aug) as that is the hard deadline for determining level of achievements, and we are likely to need to see your project’s outcome during the showcase to assess your final achievement level.


Posted on June 9, 2014 by orbital

Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 1.22.44 pm
Photo credits: Photo Credits: mclcbooks @ Flickr

Hi all:

If you’re in China over the summer and need access to videos that we have recorded, we now have a solution for you.

You can watch them on Youku, as we have posted them to this well-known video sharing site in China.

You can use the URL above from to search for videos tagged with “NUS Orbital”.  I’ve uploaded four of the important videos so far, but will upload additional as time allows.

Posted on May 20, 2014 by orbital

[This is an old video from last year (2013) that I think may be useful to those of you attempting Project Gemini or Apollo 11 and doing a web project]

Hi all, I’ve recorded a 26-minute video giving some basics about virtual machines and also showing you how you can use the eforms service from within MySoC to provision yourself a virtual Linux box within SoC for you to play with.

We actually use this service to run the WordPress site, so you can see it can actually be useful to you as a hosting solution as well.

While getting your own server is easy as filling out the virtual paperwork, once you obtain a server, it’s more of an intermediate topic to configure it to be useful to you in some way. You might try installing the common LAMP stack, or installing WordPress, Joomla, Drupal or other content management systems for some extra experience.

Slides here:

2014 edit – If you find going through SoC’s VM process tedious or not as fun as having real-world experience, I suggest that you try out Heroku or Amazon EC2  (latter needs a credit card).  Heroku can host PHP, Python, Node.js, and Ruby web frameworks (incidentally it uses EC2 as its backbone, I think).  If you want to have some exposure to the web backend, you can consider Heroku and if you want more nerdiness and control over your backend, use EC2.

The backend is a big learning curve for neophyte coders and it is the primary reason why we use Google App Engine as our framework in Liftoff — it’s supremely easy to deploy and also easy to forget (until bugs start coming up) that there is a backend to worry about in GAE.  For me, it’s a continuum:

<Little control and responsibility>

  1. Google App Engine <application as a service>
  2. Heroku <platform as a service>
  3. SoC’s VM / Amazon EC2 <virtual machine as a service>
  4. Your own physical server <physical hardware also a characteristic you have to deal with>

<Full control and responsibility>

But don’t take it from me — check out the various debates about these topics on the net.  Your mileage and opinion may vary.

Posted on April 1, 2014 by orbital

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 3.18.38 pmThe Orbital briefing was held on Monday 31 Mar 2014, at 18:00-19:00 (sorry if there was some confusion in our announcement of the timing… my bad).

The slides of the presentation are available here: and the video (audio may / may not be audible, weak laptop mic) is here: (don’t worry the video is not actually an hour long; please scrub it to find the parts that you’re interested in, see the first slides for the narration of the briefing of the video).

If you weren’t convinced to sign up before, then you can do it now (yes, you; yes, right now!) :

If you have continued questions about Orbital, please raise them on the Orbital Piazza Forum.

See you again soon at Liftoff (12 and 14 May)!


Posted on May 20, 2013 by orbital

I’ve uploaded some slides for the project documentation requirements for the “log” and “wiki” parts of the documentation. They are available in the IVLE workbin for the course: Click here to go to IVLE Workbin

I’ve also created a 25 minute video that you can watch for the purpose of the documentation.
You can watch the video here:

Posted on May 15, 2013 by orbital

Hi all:

Here’s the list of videos from Orbital’s Liftoff Day 2.  Once you’re assigned to peer teams for grading and feedback in Orbital, please take note of the time offset in the Ignition video so that your peer teams can be reminded of your idea.  If your idea changes from your Ignition presentation, no worries; make another 1-minute video response to the Ignition video and post it in YouTube.

Git (Laurence, BillPin):

Getting Fired Up (James and Jeffrey, Silicon Straits and Golden Gate):

eCommerce (Alvin, Paypal):

<deleted by request\>

Presentation Skills (Davidson, Google):

Orbital Programme Structure (Wee Sun, SoC):

Ignition (Orbital students, SoC):

Posted on May 13, 2013 by orbital

Hi all:

Here’s the list of videos from Orbital Day 1.  Using this technology is new to us, so let’s hope all turns out ok.  Do ask us questions so that we can answer them for you — we want all of you to be able to complete these basic lessons so that you can get through completing a basic web application and fielding it on Google App Engine itself.

Design Thinking (Wee Sun, SoC):

Python (Sivagar, Google):

HTML / CSS / Javascript (Janani, Google):

Part 1

Part 2

Google App Engine (Wee Sun, SoC)