ESA title


  • ACTIVITYFeasibility Study
  • STATUSCompleted

Objectives of the service

The GULLIVER feasibility study aims at assessing the added value of space assets in securing the delivery of pharmaceutical goods. For that purpose, Novacom Services has fostered the creation of a wide community of experienced users covering the end-to-end distribution chain. Navigation, Telecommunication and Earth Observation's applicability will be tested against the daily requirements of those stakeholders. All along the course of this Study, we shall keep in mind that the main objectives are to define relevant services and set the grounds for the next phase: a field demonstration project.

Users and their needs

The end users in this project are the large pharmaceutical companies on the one side, the users of pharmaceuticals (NGOs) on the other side, and the insurance companies in the middle.

Pharmaceutical companies:

  • Sanofi-Aventis
  • Roche
  • Johnson & Johnson


  • ICRC
  • WHO
  • MSF
  • UnitAid
  • CHAI Liberia
  • The Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease
  • Global Fund


  • AXA

Some shipping companies are also involved in the project as consultants, helping the project to benefit from their knowledge in terms of transportation, cold chain, customs, difficulties, etc:

  • MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics
  • GEFCO Ukraine
  • CEVA Logistics
  • Sandler & Travis Trade Advisory Services

Zaragoza Logistics Center (ZLC) - a research institute established by the Government of Aragon in Spain in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Zaragoza  - also supports with their experience and contacts in humanitarian projects and pharmaceutical transports.

Service/ system concept

GNSS tracking solutions are getting more and more common in goods transportation, with lower costs and higher accuracy in terms of location. It seems clear that their use on high value goods like pharmaceutical products would bring a lot of benefits. Tracking systems:

  • can give an estimated time of arrival to the recipients.
  • can warn the shipper immediately if his freight is endangered.
  • can tell the shipper if his freight is not usable any more, so that he does not spend more effort, time and fuel on transporting a spoilt product.
  • can warn the donor when a cargo is not usable any more, so that he can prepare for a new delivery.

Space Added Value

In remote regions, space communications are helpful to compensate for the lack of terrestrial networks. They're also necessary to help roaming between countries and seas over large areas.

Space based positioning is necessary to get a precise location of a shipping vehicle, without having to rely on reference points in large areas and sometimes mountanious landscapes.

Current Status

The Feasibility Study was finished in July. It has shown that there is a substantial potential market for Gulliver and that the solution proposed is technically feasible.

Novacom Services is already working on the full proposal for a follow-up demo project to Gulliver. This project will create an operational pilot to be deployed in an actual pharmaceutical supply chain to validate and refine the service concept and verify the technical design.

Status Date

Updated: 03 July 2012