Satellite missions for measuring winds in the troposphere and thermosphere will be launched in a near future. There is no plan to observe winds in the altitude range between 30-90 km, though middle atmospheric winds are recognized as an essential parameter in various atmospheric research areas. Sub-millimetre limb sounders have the capability to fill this altitude gap. In this paper, we summarize the wind retrievals obtained from the Japanese Superconducting Submillimeter Wave Limb Emission Sounder (SMILES) which operated from the International Space Station between September 2009 and April 2010. The results illustrate the potential of such instruments to measure winds. They also show the need of improving the wind representation in the models in the Tropics, and globally in the mesosphere. A wind measurement sensitivity study has been conducted for its successor, SMILES-2, which is being studied in Japan. If it is realized, sub-millimeter and terahertz molecular lines suitable to determine line-of-sight winds will be measured. It is shown that with the current instrument definition, line-of-sight winds can be observed from 20 km up to more than 160 km. Winds can be retrieved with a precision better than 5 ms-1 and a vertical resolution of 2-3 km between 35-90 km. Above 90 km, the precision is better than 10 ms-1 with a vertical resolution of 3-5 km. Measurements can be performed day and night with a similar sensitivity. Requirements on observation parameters such as the antenna size, the satellite altitude are discussed. An alternative setting for the spectral bands is examined. The new setting is compatible with the general scientific objectives of the mission and the instrument design. It allows to improve the wind measurement sensitivity between 35 to 90 km by a factor 2. It is also shown that retrievals can be performed with a vertical resolution of 1 km and a precision of 5-10 ms-1 between 50 and 90 km.