Chinese Astronaut Hears Strange Knocking Sound in Space


In an intriguing and somewhat unsettling incident, Chinese astronaut Yang Liwei reported hearing a mysterious “knocking” sound during his historic space mission.

Yang, who became China’s first astronaut (known as a “taikonaut”) on October 16, 2003, flew aboard the Shenzhou 5 spacecraft.

This mission marked China as the third country, after the United States and Russia, to independently send a human into space.

The Mysterious Sound

Yang described the sound as akin to someone knocking on the body of the spaceship, as if hitting an iron bucket with a wooden hammer.

This strange noise occurred intermittently throughout his 21-hour mission.

Despite his efforts to identify the source by looking out the porthole, Yang saw nothing unusual or noteworthy.

Interestingly, this wasn’t an isolated incident.

Other Chinese astronauts reported hearing the same sound on subsequent missions.

Astronauts on the Shenzhou 6 mission in 2005 and the Shenzhou 7 mission in 2008 experienced similar knocking noises.

This repeated phenomenon has raised questions and curiosity among both the space community and the public.

Possible Explanations

Several theories have been proposed to explain the mysterious knocking sound:

Space Debris: One hypothesis is that space debris might have struck the spacecraft.

However, this explanation seems somewhat unlikely given the frequency and nature of the sounds reported.

Thermal Expansion: A more plausible explanation is that the sound resulted from the spacecraft expanding and contracting due to the extreme temperatures in space.

The rapid heating and cooling could cause parts of the spacecraft to shift and make noise.

Structural Movements: It is also possible that internal structural movements or vibrations within the spacecraft produced the knocking sounds.

These could be related to the spacecraft’s design or materials used in construction.

Similar Incidents

This isn’t the first time astronauts have encountered strange noises in space.

During the Apollo 10 mission in May 1969, the crew heard an unexplained whistling sound while orbiting the Moon.

This eerie noise was likely a form of radio interference, but it nonetheless added an element of mystery to the mission.


While the exact cause of the knocking sound remains unidentified, it appears to be a common occurrence on Chinese Shenzhou spacecraft.

The fact that these noises were reported on multiple missions suggests a design characteristic shared among these vehicles.

Fortunately, the sounds did not pose any danger to the astronauts, and all missions were carried out successfully.

Although the idea of hearing unexplained noises in space might make one’s imagination run wild, there is likely a rational explanation behind it.

The knocking sound, while peculiar, probably results from natural and mechanical phenomena rather than any extraterrestrial activity.

Nonetheless, it adds a fascinating chapter to the stories of human space exploration.