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30 Years of GPS: The first Global Positioning Satellite signal from space occurred on Feb. 22, 1978, writes Col. David Madden, GPS Wing Commander at Los Angeles AFB, Calif., in a Feb. 22 statement. Madden notes that the GPS Block 1 satellites, launched between 1978 and Oct. 9, 1985 "paved the way for an operational system that has revolutionized the way we go to war."