Gyroscopes are instrument which prevent any wobbling or direction change but then how rockets and missiles change their directions. To change direction we have to give signals to gyro or to the servo(which control flaps) directly.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think you are confusing gyroscopic stabilization with gyroscope instruments used for navigation. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Jun 30, 2021 at 4:09
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Please explain your reasoning. Are you thinking that the rocket is a gyroscope? $\endgroup$
    – Dean F.
    Jun 30, 2021 at 4:38
  • $\begingroup$ The question is closed and can't be answered, but "Gyroscopes are instrument which prevent any wobbling or direction change" aside from the confusion between sensor and effector gyroscopes, reaction wheels / huge gyroscopes don't prevent turning, they just respond to torque with precession. Asking to reopen, as the question is very clear, it just includes two misconceptions that need to be explained. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Jul 3, 2021 at 19:14
  • $\begingroup$ For air-to-air missiles, check out en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proportional_navigation The gyroscopes are generally in the missile seeker head, and sensors on them detect and measure the rate of change of the Line of Sight (LOS), and feed that to the flight control system to determine the collision course. $\endgroup$ Jul 8, 2021 at 14:46

2 Answers 2


Gyroscopic rigidity in space means that a spinning gyroscope will stay aligned in the same direction while it is spinning. A rocket or missile is not a gyroscope.

Rockets and missiles may contain or use gyroscopic instruments as a method of navigation. That in no way means that the rocket or missile must stay aligned in the same direction as the gyroscope. The gyroscope is just a means to maintain a sense of direction.

For example, most aircraft have gyroscopic instruments. The pilot uses these to maintain awareness of Magnetic North even when experiencing compass errors. This in no way prevents nor assists the turning of the aircraft.


the gyroscope rotor in an attitude instrument is suspended by a gimbal assembly which allows the aircraft to pitch, yaw and roll without applying any torques to the spinning gyro, which swivels about freely as it "remembers" where the horizon is.

Those torques would cause the gyro to precess and thereby furnish wrong attitude information.

If the gyro rotor is rigidly coupled to the airframe, then as the airplane rolls, the gyro rotor rolls too and hence cannot tell you where the horizon is. As it does it will be producing a gyroscopic countertorque to the airframe, but for an attitude gyro this countertorque will be small.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .