The life of a GP-B flight gyroscope assembly

See below for a full explanation.

The GP-B flight gyroscope is a sphere of fused quartz, 1.5 inches (38 mm) in diameter. It is electrically suspended by applying voltages to the saucer-shaped electrodes seen in the two halves of the housing. It is spun up to 170 Hz by gas running through the circumferential channel visible in the right-hand hemisphere, after which the gas is pumped out and the ball runs freely in a vacuum. The direction is read out by a SQUID connected to the superconducting circuit on the face of the left-hand hemisphere.

The collage to the right consists of photos, clockwise from the upper left-hand corner, of:
  1. Two prototype gyroscope rotors, one before niobium coating was applied and one after the coating, and one half of a gyroscope housing.
  2. Engineer Chris Gray holding a rotor encased in its two housing halves, with readout cables attached. Dr. Doron Bardas, whose hand is in the lower right corner, is holding the other portion of the assembly.
  3. The other portion of the flight gyroscope assembly (with gas exhaust valve at the top).
  4. The full flight gyroscope assembly, with readout cables attached.
  5. The assembly being inserted into the quartz block by Dr. Doron Bardas.