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Beyonce Criticized for Sampling Shuttle Challenger Tragedy on ‘XO’

Jamie McCarthy, Getty Images

Beyonce is getting no hugs and kisses from the families of the NASA astronauts who perished in the 1986 space shuttle Challenger disaster. That’s because Queen Bey sampled the audio from the tragedy on her latest single, ‘XO.’

The video features the voice of the now-retired NASA public affairs officer Steve Nesbitt who was serving as commentator as the nation watched in horror of the shuttle breaking apart on live television.

“Flight controllers here looking very carefully at the situation. Obviously a major malfunction,” Nesbitt is heard saying in the beginning of the clip.

Although the audio lasts only six seconds, NASA astronauts and Challenger family members believe that Beyonce’s use of it mocks the crew’s heroism and opens fresh wounds.

June Scobee Rodgers, the widow of Challenger Space Shuttle Commander Dick Scobee and a founder of the Challenger Center for Space Science Education, told ABC News she was “disappointed” that Beyonce used an audio from the tragedy on ‘XO.’

She also added, “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.”

Keith Cowing, a former NASA employee who oversees website, agrees with Rodgers. He wants Beyonce to remove the audio and apologize to grieving families. “This choice of historic and solemn audio is inappropriate in the extreme,” he said.

Beyonce has since apologized to the families of the Challenger crew but she didn’t mention whether or not she will remove the audio from the video.

Her statement reads:

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. The songwriters included the audio in tribute to the unselfish work of the Challenger crew with hope that they will never be forgotten.”

Retired NASA astronaut Clayton Anderson told ABC News that using the audio in the song is “simply insensitive, at the very least,” but is giving Beyonce the benefit of the doubt.

“What we do in space just isn’t as important to young people today,” he said.

What do you think? Should Beyonce remove the audio from ‘XO’? Tell us in the comments below.

Watch Beyonce’s ‘XO’ Video

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