Several astronauts have a bone to pick with Beyoncé. On “XO,” one of the love songs off her recently released visual album, a recording of a space mission heard in the first few seconds has sparked outrage from a group of current and former NASA astronauts along with their families, who are slamming the singer for sampling the space shuttle Challenger disaster.
According to ABC News, the words “Flight controllers here looking very carefully at the situation. Obviously a major malfunction” uttered on “XO” by now-retired NASA public affairs officer Steve Nesbitt come from the 1986 tragedy where the Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center.
“We were disappointed to learn that an audio clip from the day we lost our heroic Challenger crew was used in the song ‘XO,’” June Scobee Rodgers, the widow of Challenger Space Shuttle Commander Dick Scobee who was aboard the Challenger, said. “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.”
Bey then issued a statement to ABC’s Good Morning America about the Ryan Tedder and The-Dream-penned track:
“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.”