Chinese astronaut Yang Liwei made the revelation during a recent interview when he talked about the experiences of his 21-hour space mission aboard the Shenzhen 5 in 2003.
Yang, a major general, admitted feeling worried, nervous and “very uncomfortable” about the spooky noise that came from an unknown source neither within nor outside the spacecraft. The noise started and stopped suddenly on multiple occasions “without any reason,” he said, according to the Chinese Xinhua news agency.
“A non-causal situation I have met in space is a knock that appeared from time to time,” he said, according to the Chinese People’s Daily Online.”It neither came from outside nor inside the spaceship.
“[It] sounded like someone is knocking the body of the spaceship just as knocking an iron bucket with a wooden hammer.”
Yang made efforts to investigate the source of the noise by moving around inside the craft. He moved closer to the porthole but he was unable to trace the origin and cause of the noise. He noticed nothing unusual inside or outside the space capsule that could explain the strange knocking or banging noise.
The mysterious sound appeared to be an audio apparition coming out of nowhere and without any demonstrable cause, the spooked astronaut said.
Yang said that after his experience he warned other astronauts who traveled to space in Shenzhen 6 and 7 to expect mysterious noises, according to the Daily Mail.
“Before entering space, I have told them that the sound is a normal phenomenon, so there is no need to worry,” he said.
Strangely, other Chinese astronauts who later traveled to space aboard Shenzhen 6 and 7 reported hearing similar mysterious noises. They were also unable to determine the source or cause of the persistent loud knocking they heard during space flight.
When Yang returned to Earth he reported the noise to engineers and technicians. He tried unsuccessfully to mimic or simulate it for the benefit of engineers. Despite being provided with a variety of objects and instruments, he was unable to reproduce the noise.
And more than 10 years after the incident, investigators still have no clue what caused the strange loud banging or knocking that Yang and other astronauts compared to the sound of a “wooden hammer hitting an iron bucket.”
Although conspiracy theorists have tried unconvincingly to link the noise to aliens and UFOs in space, engineers believe that the noise might have been due to craft engineering issues.
But Chinese engineers have spent more than a decade trying to determine the source and cause of the mysterious noise without success.
Yang was born on June 21, 1965, in Suizhong, a county in the southwest of the Liaoning province of China. He became the first man sent into space by the Chinese space program and the 241st human to visit outer space, when he was launched into Earth orbit on October 15, 2003, aboard Shenzhou 5.
He spent a total of 21 hours, 22 minutes, 45 seconds in space.
Yang, a fighter jet pilot, was a lieutenant colonel at the time he traveled to space. But he later rose to the rank of a major general.
His space flight in October 2003 made China the third country in the world to have sent a human astronaut to space, after the United States and Russia.
The revelation comes soon after the Chinese space research and exploration program made very major advances. The country recently unveiled the world’s largest radio telescope and launched a new space lab, as part of preparation to place a space station in orbit.
China has also announced plans to send a mission to Mars.