Superstar Beyonce has been urged to donate a portion of proceeds from her new release Xo to charity after causing controversy by sampling audio commentary from the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster for the track.

The tune, about a doomed relationship, features a snippet of NASA public affairs officer Steve Nesbitt talking about the tragedy in 1986, when the shuttle broke apart shortly after its launch, killing all seven crew members.

In the six-second clip, Nesbitt is heard saying, "Flight controllers here looking very carefully at the situation. Obviously a major malfunction."

Beyonce came under fire last month (Dec13) for including the emotionally-charged footage in the song, but she defended her decision, insisting, "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."

Now Beyonce has been targeted by protesters in an online petition, calling for the singer to hand over a quarter of profits to the Challenger Learning Center, which aims to encourage kids to explore and learn more about space and science education.

Launching the campaign on, Sarah MCNulty, an aerospace industry employee in Florida, states, "Challenger is one of those tragedies that is perpetually a very raw wound for everyone, especially those in the space industry, and I believe that it should never be treated as anything but.

"It's never okay to trivialize a tragedy, but trivializing a tragedy such as Challenger, which was meant to be an inspirational mission to enlighten and inspire the nation and give us heroes to look up to, is a crime."

MCNulty is aiming for 5,000 signatures to raise the profile of the petition, and had already landed more than 4,650 as Wenn went to press.