Beyonce has released a statement in response to criticism for including a sample from the 1986 Challenger explosion in her recently released single, “XO” (December 30).

“My heart goes out to the families of those lost in the Challenger disaster,” the pop singer says in an exclusive statement released by 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.”

Current and former NASA employees and families took offense to the inclusion of a six second sample of then NASA public affairs officer, Steve Nesbitt reporting the tragedy. “Flight controllers here looking very carefully at the situation,” Nesbitt says at the beginning of the song. “Obviously a major malfunction.”

Speaking exclusively with ABC News, June Scobee Rogers, widow of Challenger Space Shuttle Commander Dick Scobee says she is “disappointed in the singer’s decision to include the clip.” The publication also reports that former NASA employee and now head of, Keith Cowing would like Beyonce to remove the clip from “XO.”

“This choice of historic and solemn audio is inappropriate in the extreme,” Cowing says as reported by ABC News. “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.”

“XO” is the tenth track on Beyonce’s recently released self-titled album and was written and produced by The Dream and Ryan Tedder. This is not the first time the pop star has been a part of a song that includes a NASA sample. “Lift Off,” from Jay Z and Kanye West’s Watch The Throne features Beyonce along with a clip from the Apollo 11 launch. The Houston, Texas-native has also used similar imagery in her own music, most notably on songs “Countdown,” and “Rocket.”

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