Beyonce Samples Challenger Disaster Audio In Song, Sparks Outrage
December 31, 2013

Beyonce Samples Challenger Disaster Audio In Song, Sparks Outrage

Gerard LeBlond for - Your Universe Online

A disaster that took the lives of seven astronauts on January 28, 1986 will never be forgotten. However, friends, family members and NASA itself are angered by Beyoncé using a six-second audio clip from the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster at the beginning of her new love song “XO.”

According to Fox news, the clip used was from Steve Nesbit who was NASA’s public affairs officer at the time of the disaster. He was heard saying, “Flight controllers here looking very carefully at the situation. Obviously a major malfunction.”

According to CNN's Alan Duke, Beyoncé is defending the audio clip, calling the song a tribute to the seven astronauts who died in the disaster. One of those was school teacher Christa McAuliffe.

June Scobee Rodgers, the widow of Challenger Commander Dick Scobee, released a statement on concerning the use of the audio clip.

Rodgers wrote, “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.”

Keith Cowing, a former NASA employee, who runs, posted on his site, “These words were uttered as the crew and their disintegrating vehicle were still falling into the sea. These words are forever etched into the psyche of everyone who was watching that day and still echo across the years for the generation that followed… This choice of historic and solemn audio is inappropriate in the extreme.”

In a statement to ABC News, Beyoncé said, “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, “For the words to be used in the video is simply insensitive, at the very least.” He added, “What we do in space just isn't as important to young people today.”

Beyoncé has been a part of the space agency before, giving a wake-up greeting to the final shuttle flight Atlantis in 2011. She made a recording for the crew, “You inspire all of us to dare to live our dreams, to know that we're smart enough and strong enough to achieve them.”