I've played extensively with wind shear Math models, but I wonder how the aerospace researchers study it experimentally: Do they generate shear flows in a water tunnel? Or do they use a wind tunnel? Is generating a shear flow experimentally even possible? I've checked and noticed that there's little-to-no literature for it.


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    $\begingroup$ Sometimes they can go in situ. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Jul 27, 2021 at 22:29

1 Answer 1


It may be off topic here, but there were more or less routine experimental measurements taken by NASA.

Wind profiles were measured for the Space Shuttle on the day of launch by releasing "Jimspheres", two meter radar reflective helium balloons covered with stabilizing cones.

enter image description here

The balloons were tracked by the same C-band radars used to track the shuttle stack during ascent.

The system had an altitude resolution of 100 feet, allowing it to pick up wind shears if they were greater than that.

The paper Space Shuttle Day-of-Launch Trajectory Design Operations contains a full description and is the source of the image.


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