Theinvestigation,development and applications of hypersonic shocktunnels are reviewed in this paper. According to the requirementsof hypersonic ground test facilities, shock tunnels driven by thelight gases driver, the free-piston driver and detonation driverare respectively presented, and their performances, merits andproblems are briefly discussed, with emphasizes laid on thedetonation-driven shock tunnels operating in three modes, i.e. thebackward detonation, the forward detonation and the doubledetonation mode. Based on their operation principals, the thusgenerated high-pressure and temperature flows are analyzed, thekey problems existing in each mode are explored, and possiblesolutions are discussed. Hypersonic shock tunnels developed can,so far, be used to generate hypersonic flows with Mach numberranging from 3 to 30, however, the flow quality can't perfectlymeet the requirements of hypersonic ground test facilities.Therefore, the duplication of hypersonic flight conditions have tobe pursued to enhance the reliability of ground experimental databy continuously improving hypersonic shock tunnels.