In this Feb. 3, 2013 file photo, recording artist Beyonce performs at Super Bowl XLVII, in New Orleans.
(Photo: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
A song on Beyoncé's latest album has upset families of the victims of the 1986 Challenger shuttle disaster.
The love song XO opens with a six-second audio sample that originally was broadcast in the immediate aftermath of the Jan. 28, 1986 explosion that took the lives of all seven crew members on board. "Flight controllers here looking very carefully at the situation. Obviously a major malfunction," now-retired NASA public affairs officer Steve Nesbitt said as the nation watched the shuttle explode 73 seconds after liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center.
June Scobee Rodgers, the widow of Challenger Commander Dick Scobee, said she was "disappointed" to hear of Beyoncé's use of the clip. "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."
Beyoncé was quick to issue an apology, telling ABC News in a statement on Monday: "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."
This isn't Beyonce's first interaction with NASA: in 2011, she recorded a wake-up greeting for the orbiting crew of STS-135, the final space shuttle flight. "You inspire all of us to dare to live our dreams, to know that we're smart enough and strong enough to achieve them," she told the Atlantis crew.