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Beyoncé's Challenger Controversy: NASA Responds to Singer's Use of Disaster Audio in "XO"

Beyonce Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

NASA is wagging their finger at Beyoncé.

The United States government agency released a statement tonight in response to the controversy surrounding the world-famous superstar for her use of an audio clip from the NASA Challenger explosion, which claimed seven American lives in 1986, in the opening of her song "XO."

"The Challenger accident is an important part of our history; a tragic reminder that space exploration is risky and should never be trivialized," said the statement from Lauren B. Worley, NASA's press secretary. "NASA works every day to honor the legacy of our fallen astronauts as we carry out our mission to reach for new heights and explore the universe."

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The singer explained in a statement yesterday that the use of the audio was not meant to be disrespectful.

"My heart goes out to the families of those lost in the Challenger disaster," she told ABC News. "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.

When Challenger exploded and footage of the wreckage falling to the ocean was broadcast on live TV, NASA public affairs officer Steve Nesbitt told viewers, "Flight controllers here looking very carefully at the situation" and that "Obviously a major malfunction had occurred." Nearly 28 years later, Nesbitt's voice is heard at the beginning of "XO," something one NASA employee told ABC News was "inappropriate in the extreme."

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