Beyoncé has been criticised for using an audio clip from a space shuttle disaster in one of her new songs.

On January 28 1986 the space shuttle Challenger exploded almost immediately after liftoff, killing seven crew members.

In a six-second audio clip at the start of Bey’s song XO, NASA’s public affairs officer at the time Steve Nesbitt is heard saying, “Flight controllers here looking very carefully at the situation. Obviously a major malfunction.”

And relatives of those lost in the disaster were quick to condemn Beyoncé.

“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,” said the widow of Challenger Commander Dick Scobee, June Scobee Rodgers in a statement posted on

“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,” she added.

Other relatives and those closely associated with space travel called for the singer, who is married to Jay-Z, to apologise.

Beyoncé issued a statement in response to the uproar.

“My heart goes out to the families of those lost in the Challenger disaster,” she said.

“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.”