A sound resembling a ‘hammer hitting an iron bucket’ on his space capsule left China’s first astronaut feeling nervous and worried during his maiden voyage into space.
Astronaut Yang Liwei made the revelations in a recent interview while talking about the strange noises while aboard the Shenzhen 5 spaceship during a 21 hour mission in 2003.
Although Liwei said he didn’t hear the mysterious sound after returning to Earth, other astronauts aboard the Shenzhou 6 and Shenzhou 7 have also reported hearing a similar, if not the same, banging.
Liwei manned the Shenzhou 5 on October 16, 2003 and stepped out of the re-entry module during a 21-hour mission and into the last frontier – making him the 241st human in space.
And although he should be celebrating this honor, Liwei is still haunted by what he heard aboard the vessel.
‘A non-causal situation I have met in space is a knock that appeared from time to time,’ he told Xinhua recalling the experience.
‘It neither came from outside nor inside the spaceship, but sounded like someone is knocking the body of the spaceship just as knocking an iron bucket with a wooden hammer’.
The sound made Liwei very nervous, but he moved around the ship and closer to the porthole to see if he could find its origin.
But nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary inside and outside of the craft.
Following the 21 hour flight, Liwei returned home and tried to mimic the noises he heard with instruments – hoping the space agency’s technicians could solve the puzzle.
However, no one has yet to determine what could have caused such a noise and Liwei has not heard it since returning to Earth.
Those aboard the Shenzhou 6 and Shenzhou 7 have also reported hearing a strange banging noise.
Liwie said,’Before entering space, I have told them that the sound is a normal phenomenon, so there is no need to worry.’
Liwei was born in Liaoning province’s Suizhong County in 1965, became the first person sent into space by the Chinese space program in 2003.
This year China unveiled the world’s largest radio telescope, launched a space lab in preparation for a space station and announced plans to send a mission to Mars.
In October, the Asian country announced that they have plans for a new space plane that could fly up to 20 passengers to the edge of space each day.
China’s plane would be a vertical take-off and landing aircraft, the magazine reported. The researchers presented two ideas.
The first design weighs in at 10 tonnes and has a wingspan of 19.6 feet (6 meters).