- The Washington Times - Monday, December 30, 2013

Beyonce has been criticized by some current and former NASA astronauts and their families for including audio from the Challenger disaster in her new music video for “XO.”

The song “XO” is about a troubled relationship and features the voice of now-retired NASA public affairs officer Steve Nesbitt, ABC News reported.

“Flight controllers here looking very carefully at the situation. Obviously a major malfunction,” Mr. Nesbitt is heard saying on live television as he watched the shuttle break apart. The sound clip runs about six seconds in “XO,” ABC News reported.

Beyonce issued a statement defending the song.

“My heart goes out to the families of those lost in the Challenger disaster,” she said in an exclusive statement to ABC News on Monday morning. “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.”

June Scobee Rodgers, the widow of Challenger Space Shuttle Commander Dick Scobee, said she was “disappointed to learn that an audio clip from the day we lost our heroic Challenger crew was used in the song ‘XO,’ ” she said.

Keith Cowing, a former NASA employee who now runs the NASAWatch.com website, demanded the clip to be removed from the song.

“This choice of historic and solemn audio is inappropriate in the extreme,” he said. “The choice is little different than taking Walter Cronkite’s words to viewers announcing the death of President Kennedy or 911 calls from the World Trade Center attack and using them for shock value in a pop tune.”

Retired NASA astronaut Clayton Anderson told ABC News, “For the words to be used in the video is simply insensitive, at the very least.”

Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center on Jan. 28, 1986, killing all seven aboard.

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