Beyonce has come under fire for using part of an audio recording of the final moments of the 1986 Challenger space shuttle disaster in one of the tracks of her new album.
The 32-year-old pop star says it was included on her record as a tribute to the astronauts who died in the historic incident. All seven crew members were killed when Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Jan. 28, 1986. The disaster is considered one of the most memorable and tragic events of the 1980s in the United States.
ABC News said several current NASA astronauts, who are not authorized to speak publicly, "privately expressed similar dismay at what they say is Beyonce's use of a tragedy to sell a pop song." The news outlet quoted June Scobee Rodgers, the widow of Mission Commander Dick Scobee, one of the crew members who were killed, as saying she was "disappointed" to learn that the clip was used in the singer's song, "XO."
Beyonce's track, whose music video features scenes of the singer having fun at New York's Coney Island amusement park, begins with a six-second clip of an audio recording made during the Challenger disaster, which featured a dialogue between Mission Control and then-NASA public affairs officer Steve Nesbitt.
In the part used in her song, Nesbitt is heard saying: "Flight controllers here looking very carefully at the situation. Obviously a major malfunction." *
"My heart goes out to the families of those lost in the Challenger disaster," Beyonce told ABC News in a statement on Monday, Dec. 30. 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," she added.
There were mixed opinions about Beyonce's use of part of the Challenger shuttle disaster recording on the YouTube page of the "XO" music video, which features more than 6,900 comments as of Monday.
"Is anything sacred in this country anymore?" said user Jeff Erickson.
"I don't see anything wrong with using this audio sample," said user TiAmo4life. "I'm sure everyone on board would want to be remembered, and what better way to do so than with a touching song from a very famous woman."
* NOTE: The rest of the recording, which is not featured in Beyonce's song, continues like this: "We have no downlink. (Pause) We have a report from the flight dynamics officer that the vehicle has exploded."
Watch the music video for Beyonce's song "XO" and tell us - do YOU Think it was insensitive to use the sample of the audio recording in the track?