One of the many problems posed by the dawning missile age is the new requirement of precision in industrial standards.
One of the many problems posed by the dawning missile age is the new requirement of precision in industrial standards. Here in the first film of the Sperry Gyroscope Production line since World War 2, we see the assembly of space instruments and guidance mechanisms.
Parts here are machined to fractions of a millionth of an inch, washed in water agitated by ultrasonic vibrations, cleaned by dental tools, and packaged in airtight plastic containers. Until a few years ago these techniques were unknown outside the laboratory.
The deliacts assembly of parts is done by operatives who wash up for work as carefully as a surgeon. Dust is blown of their shoes and clothes by jets of air. They put on lint-free overalle, boots and caps in double walled air-tight rooms where even the corners are curved to prevent dust collection. Here in virtual isolation from the rest of the world, humidity is controlled to two points percent - temperature within two degrees. The parts to be assembled enter this clean room through an airlock.
All these are precautions to enable the gyroscope - used to guide a missile, to be centred on its mount with an accuracy comparable to the diameter or a microbe. A flake of dandruff can be as damaging as a rock. No pencil or paper here for writing - only special pens and plastic sheets. And of course, no smoking, no eating, no make up for the girls, no moustaches for the men.
The balancing of a sealed gyroscope is done in a liquid, and this procedure takes at least twenty hours. The completed gyro runs for a hundred hours on a test bench before acceptance. Here, if the gyro works properly, it will maintain a fixed direction with absolute precision. The gyro on the sdale stands still, the earth rotates beneath it.
Only with precision such as this can the rocket middle be guided on to its target or the X-15 make a successful re-entry into the earth's atmosphere after the first manned flight into nearer and then outer space.