The Gyroscope

A brightly colored top stands upright because it is stabilized by its spin.
Credit: National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution

Some spacecraft are given a spin, like a gyroscope, to keep them oriented in a certain way.  You can also see this same effect at work on Earth.  A bicycle is easier to balance while moving because its spinning wheels help stabilize it.  The spinning action of a top also stabilizes it, and helps keep it from falling over (at least until drag slows its spinning and gravity pulls it to the ground). 

Categories: Flight Dynamics