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A generalized form of the Doppler equation is derived by field theory. The equation permits consideration of the effect of propagation phenomena on the Doppler shift under space flight conditions. As an example of an application, the effect of a medium which is nonhomogeneous in the flight direction is investigated. A deviation of the longitudinal and a transverse Doppler shift are the consequences. The magnitudes of both effects, which have to be taken into account in tracking, navigation, and Doppler evaluations, are considered.