Gyroscopes can be very perplexing objects because they move in peculiar ways and even seem to defy gravity. These special properties make gyroscopes extremely important in everything from your bicycle to the advanced navigation system on the space shuttle. A typical airplane uses about a dozen gyroscopes in everything from its compass to its autopilot. The Russian Mir space station used 11 gyroscopes to keep its orientation to the sun, and the Hubble Space Telescope has a batch of navigational gyros as well. Gyroscopic effects are also central to things like yo-yos and Frisbees!
In this edition of HowStuffWorks, we will look at gyroscopes to understand why they are so useful in so many different places. You will also come to see the reason behind their very odd behavior!