Progress in computational atmospheric dynamics is exhibiting the ability of numerical simulation to describe instability processes associated with turbulence observed at altitudes between 15 and 25 km in the lower stratosphere. As these numerical simulation tools mature, they can be used to extend estimates of atmospheric perturbations from the present gust database for airplane design at altitudes below 15 km to altitudes between 25 and 50 km where aerospace plane operation would be at hypersonic speeds. The amount of available gust data and number of temperature perturbation observations are limited at altitudes between 15 and 25 km. On the other hand, in-situ gust data at higher altitudes are virtually nonexistent. The uncertain potential for future airbreathing hypersonic flight research vehicles to encounter strong turbulence at higher altitudes could penalize the design of these vehicles by undue cost or limitations on performance. Because the atmospheric structure changes markedly with altitude, direct extrapolation of gust magnitudes and encounter probabilities to the higher flight altitudes is not advisable. This paper presents a brief review of turbulence characteristics observed in the lower stratosphere and highlights the progress of computational atmospheric dynamics that may be used to estimate the severity of atmospheric transients at higher altitudes.