If you have Python version >= 2.7, you can use subprocess.check_output which basically does exactly what you want (it returns standard output as string).
Simple example (linux version, see note):
import subprocess print subprocess.check_output(["ping", "-c", "1", "18.104.22.168"])
Note that the ping command is using linux notation (
-c for count). If you try this on Windows remember to change it to
-n for same result.
As commented below you can find a more detailed explanation in this other answer.