I'm embarking on a research program to develop high-precision photon-counting LIDAR for the use in LEO.

As part of this, I'm planning on developing an accurate simulation of LEO and the level of debris flux in the region.

So, as part of this, I'm going to need to be able to accurately trace the paths of photons between my simulated satellite and any debris that it may detect.

I come from an engineering background (software and electronics) but have a fair understanding of orbital mechanics.

However, as I understand it, I'll have to take into account the bending of photons as they travel, due to the large mass of the Earth. This can be calculated with GR I think.

That's got me thinking about whether or not there are any other non-newtonian effects I need to be aware of and compensate for given that I'll be having to accurately time the return journey of these photons when both the detector and the objects being detected will be moving at orbital velocities.

I'm not looking for in-depth explanations of these effects (although if you want to, be my guest), more pointers of effects that I'll need to research and ensure I compensate for.


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