Beyonce's new song 'XO' under fire for use of audio from NASA's Challenger space shuttle disaster

Recording artist Beyonce performs at Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013 in New Orleans. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
December 30, 2013 3:00:36 PM PST
Beyonce's new song is coming under fire over the use of an audio sample from the Challenger space shuttle explosion.

"XO" begins with the calm voice of Steve Nesbitt, a NASA public affairs officer, saying, "Flight controllers here looking very carefully at the situation. Obviously a major malfunction."

It's 6 seconds of audio now being heard once again around the world. It was first broadcast January 28, 1986 moments after space shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff. All seven astronauts aboard were killed. Beyonce uses it at the beginning of one of her new songs.

The song is drawing criticism from some in the NASA community. They say this minimizes the crew's sacrifice and reopens old wounds.

"To me, it just seemed to be totally irrelevant and the use of it insensitive," former NASA astronaut Clayton Anderson said.

Anderson says it's clear that times have changed and there seems to be less respect for the sacrifices made by the Challenger seven.

"The more we talk about it, the more people know about it and then maybe she sells more records. To me, I think that might be disappointing," Anderson said.

That sentiment is echoed by the widow of Challenger commander Dick Scobee. Dr. June Scobee Rogers tells us, "The moment included in this song is an emotionally difficult one for the Challenger families, colleagues and friends."

She says the crew should be remembered for the legacy they left, not the moment of their demise.

NASA also responded with a statement Monday that read:

"The Challenger accident is an important part of our history; a tragic reminder that space exploration is risky and should never be trivialized. NASA works every day to honor the legacy of our fallen astronauts as we carry out our mission to reach for new heights and explore the universe."

Beyonce sent a wake up call to the final space shuttle crew in 2011.

Through a spokesperson on Monday, Beyonce tells us her heart goes out to those families who lost a loved one in the Challenger tragedy.

"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," Beyonce said.

Some of her fans believe her and are supportive.

"I really don't think she used it inappropriately. It was just like a metaphor for the song," Beyonce fan Damon Randle said.

"I don't think she was trying purposefully to be offensive, but just trying to say appreciate what you have now," fan Michaela Sandidge said.

Find Kevin on Facebook at ABC13KevinQuinn or on Twitter at @kquinn001

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