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Beyoncé Causes Controversy with Challenger Explosion Sample on ‘XO’

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(Courtesy Columbia Records)

(Courtesy Columbia Records)

By Annie Reuter

Beyoncé begins her song “XO” with six seconds of audio sampling from the space shuttle Challenger explosion. What she said was recorded with the “sincerest intention to help heal those who have lost loved ones,” is being seen in a very different light by former and current NASA astronauts as well as those who lost loved ones in the Challenger explosion on Jan. 28, 1986.

In the song’s opening clip, the audio from now-retired NASA public affairs officer Steve Nesbitt is heard.

“Flight controllers here looking very carefully at the situation. Obviously a major malfunction,” he said as the broadcast of the Challenger exploding was seen on television.

All seven of the crew members aboard the Challenger were killed during liftoff.

Former NASA employee Keith Cowing wants Beyoncé to take down the clip and apologize.

“This choice of historic and solemn audio is inappropriate in the extreme. The choice is little different than taking Walter Cronkite’s words to viewers announcing the death of President Kennedy or 911 calls from the World Trade Center attack and using them for shock value in a pop tune.”

Beyonce(John Moore/Getty Images)

In a statement to ABC News this morning, Beyoncé explained why she decided to use the six-second audio clip but has yet to take it off her song.

“My heart goes out to the families of those lost in the Challenger disaster. The song ‘XO’ was recorded with the sincerest intention to help heal those who have lost loved ones and to remind us that unexpected things happen, so love and appreciate every minute that you have with those who mean the most to you,” she said. “The songwriters included the audio in tribute to the unselfish work of the Challenger crew with hope that they will never be forgotten.”

Another former NASA astronaut, Clayton Anderson told ABC News that what they do in space isn’t important to young people today.

“For the words to be used in the video is simply insensitive, at the very least,” Anderson said.

“XO” is a track of the singer’s most recent album, Beyoncé, which had a surprise release earlier this month on iTunes.

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