Former NASA astronauts and their family members are not fans of Beyonce Knowles' new single called "XO". They labeled the diva "insensitive" after she used audio from the space shuttle Challenger explosion in the track off her new self-titled album, "Beyonce".
"Flight controllers here looking very carefully at the situation. Obviously a major malfunction," then-NASA public affairs officer Steve Nesbitt said as Challenger exploded 73 second after liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center January 28, 1986. Seven crewmembers aboard were killed in the tragedy.
The same words by Nesbitt can now be heard at the beginning of Beyonce's song about a troubled relationship.
June Scobee Rodgers, the widow of Challenger space shuttle commander Dick Scobee, expressed her disappointment over Beyonce's new song. She told ABC, "We were disappointed to learn that an audio clip from the day we lost our heroic Challenger crew was used in the song 'XO'. The moment included in this song is an emotionally difficult one for the Challenger families, colleagues and friends. We have always chosen to focus not on how our loved ones were lost, but rather on how they lived and how their legacy lives on today."
Former NASA employee Keith Cowing added, "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."
Additionally, Cowing asked Beyonce to remove the clip and apologize to families of the Challenger team.
Beyonce has reacted to the news. In a statement released on Monday, December 30, she explained that she didn't mean to offend anyone by using the audio. "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," she added. "XO" was written and produced by Ryan Tedder and The-Dream.