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In today's Morning Brief: as NASA prepares to launch the Artemis I moon rocket, Canada is heavily involved — from a new Canadarm to an astronaut who will be on the next phase of the mission.

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Humans are heading back to the moon — and Canada is playing a bigger role than you may realize

If all goes as planned, NASA's most powerful rocket yet will roar to life on the morning of Aug. 29, as part of the Artemis I mission to the moon.

While the mission will be uncrewed — the only passengers on the 32-storey Space Launch System (SLS) and attached Orion capsule are three mannequins — it is the first moonshot for a human-rated spacecraft since Apollo 17 in December 1972.

The goal of the Artemis program is to send humans back to the moon — and ultimately to Mars.

But unlike the Apollo program of the 1960s, Artemis is an international effort. And Canada has no small role in returning humans to deep space; we are building a new Canadarm, a lunar rover and sending astronauts.

The mission of Artemis I is to test the SLS rocket and the Orion capsule. But after that comes Artemis II, scheduled for 2024 or 2025, when four astronauts will travel in Orion and orbit the moon.

On that capsule will be a yet-unnamed Canadian astronaut — the first to travel to deep space.

NASA also has plans to build the Lunar Gateway, a small space station that will orbit the moon. Canada is contributing the Canadarm3, built by MDA, to that project — and the new arm is much more sophisticated than the originals. 

MDA is also partnering with Lockheed Martin and General Motors to provide a robotic arm on a future lunar rover. Canadian companies are also working on a rover capable of spending two weeks in the frigid temperatures of lunar night.

"Canada's role in space — we've been a player from the beginning," said Ken Podwalski, executive director of space exploration and the Lunar Gateway program manager at the Canadian Space Agency. 

"I just don't think Canadians … realize how awesome we are. I don't think they realize the things we've done with the shuttle program, with our astronauts, with science, with our satellite programs, our Earth observation, the International Space Station," he said. Read the full story here.

Liz Cheney loses Wyoming Republican primary to Trump-backed candidate

(Jae C. Hong/The Associated Press)

Wyoming Republican Rep. Liz Cheney speaks Tuesday at a primary election day gathering at Mead Ranch in Jackson, Wyo. Donald Trump's fiercest Republican adversary in Congress, Cheney lost to challenger Harriet Hageman in the party's primary. Read more on Cheney's defeat here.

In brief

Former students of a private Christian school in Saskatchewan where physical and sexual abuse is alleged to have taken place say the provincial government needs to be more transparent and take further action against former employees of the school. They say the province's decision to appoint an administrator to oversee three schools in response to the allegations is not enough and that the people accused shouldn't be allowed to keep working in schools while the allegations are investigated. "I think it's very clear what needs to be done when there are allegations of child abuse against people in positions of authority over children," said Stefanie Hutchinson, a former student. "You just remove the people while you investigate." Earlier this month, an investigation by CBC News detailed years of physical, emotional and sexual abuse allegedly endured by students of the former Saskatoon Christian Centre Church and the Christian Centre Academy school, now known as Mile Two Church and Legacy Christian Academy. Read more on this story here.

WATCH | Sask. government steps in following allegations of abuse at private Christian schools: 

Sask. government steps in following allegations of abuse at private Christian schools

2 months ago
Duration 2:28

The high-ranking Nova Scotia RCMP officer at the centre of a controversy over possible political interference by RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki following the 2020 mass shooting is doubling down on his allegations. RCMP Chief Supt. Darren Campbell told a House of Commons committee Tuesday that he recalls Lucki saying during an April 28, 2020 call that she was "sad and disappointed" that Campbell had not released details about the gunman's weapons at a news conference. Campbell told MPs that the commissioner also said she had "promised" the offices of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and then-Public Safety minister Bill Blair that those details would be released. Campbell said he tried to tell Lucki that releasing that information could hurt the ongoing investigation, which involved agencies in the United States. "The commissioner told my colleagues and I that we didn't understand, that this was tied to pending legislation that would make officers and the public safer," Campbell said. Blair and Lucki have denied repeatedly that Blair interfered in the investigation. Blair also told the committee he never asked Lucki to promise him the gun information would be released. Read more here.

An Ontario man who fled Afghanistan amid the threat of a militant takeover says his life was endangered multiple times because of a licence plate resembling the word ISIS that he never asked for and that the province refused to change until he was nearly killed. Nouman, 29, came to Canada as a refugee with his mother and brother just over a decade ago. His father had died a few years earlier, and life for a single mother in Kabul wasn't safe at the time. Canada, they hoped, would give them safety and "peace of mind." But a set of licence plates he wound up with last year would put him right back in danger again. CBC News is identifying the 29-year-old by his first name only over concerns for his safety. When Nouman bought his first motorcycle from a dealership last summer, he didn't pay much attention to the fact that the bike bore plates with 1S1S6 on them. But after multiple death threats and accusations that he was a supporter of the terror group, Nouman asked the provincial service provider Service Ontario to change his plates. Instead of issuing him new ones, he says he was brushed off and left vulnerable to being targeted again. Read more here.

Canada's tax agency has obtained an order to seize debts owed by a Chinese billionaire whose love of Downton Abbey inspired him to pay more than $11 million for an iconic Vancouver mansion in the same year he claimed income of just $9,424. According to a federal court judgment issued last month, the Canada Revenue Agency sought the so-called "jeopardy order" to collect $770,710 against the future sale of Mingfei Zhao's home because the 64-year-old has left Canada and appears to be in the process of trying to sell the only asset he has left in this country. Zhao bought the 14,000-square foot Tudor-style property in 2014 to much fanfare, vowing to return the building to its original glory a century earlier when "the Rosemary" — named after the daughter of a liquor tycoon — was considered the grandest home ever built in Vancouver. But according to the court documents, Zhao declared income of less than $10,000 in 2014 and $38,161 in 2015 — amounts CRA auditors concluded were "not sufficient" to support his purchase of real estate and monthly mortgage payments of $8,699. Read more on this story.

Lesley Lowe believes Air Canada isn't playing by the rules. Last month, the airline cancelled her return flight to Toronto from New Orleans — five hours before she was set to depart. Her rebooked flight didn't leave until the following day. Lowe applied for compensation for the delay, and the $394 US she spent on a hotel plus added expenses. Air Canada responded that she didn't qualify for any cash. Instead, the airline sent her an email — seen by CBC News — that described the challenges the company faces due to a recent surge in travel, including long line-ups, baggage processing issues and flight delays. But the email omitted an important detail: why Lowe's flight cancellation didn't warrant compensation. Lowe is one of many air passengers who, during this summer of mass flight delays and cancellations, claim they were unfairly denied compensation by their airline. The Canadian Transportation Agency has yet to confirm if it will take action against non-compliant airlines — despite calls from air passenger rights experts that it's time to issue harsh penalties. Read more here.
WATCH | Travellers say they're being unfairly denied compensation for Air Canada flight cancellations: 

Travellers say they’re being unfairly denied compensation for Air Canada flight cancellations

2 months ago
Duration 2:01

Now here's some good news to start your Wednesday: A Dartmouth, N.S., woman decided that having water inside a boat doesn't have to be cause for alarm. After about a month of work, Olivia Kendall said she's completed turning an old motorboat into a backyard pool. "It looked really beautiful. It was obviously very old," Kendall said of the boat. "But I thought if it could keep water out, it could probably keep water in." She found the old Mercury "runabout" boat, along with some second-hand equipment, including a pool pump, sand filter and a salt water chlorinator, online. She then installed it in her yard. Her three-year-old daughter, Adele, has spent any time she can in the pool and other kids in the neighbourhood are big fans of the project as well, Kendall said. Read more and check out the photos of the "reverse boat " here.

First Person: I quit my job — and I never want to work full time again

When Eliza Baynes decided to quit full-time work, she knew she was taking a risk. But she was also choosing to take care of her body and her mind by rejecting the idea that constant busyness is a marker of success. Read her column here.

Front Burner: What we've learned since the FBI raided Trump's Florida home

In the wake of the FBI raid on former U.S. president Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida earlier this month, more details have emerged about what federal agents are investigating, including potential violations of three different federal laws, one of which is the Espionage Act. 

One unsealed document shows that the FBI seized 11 sets of classified documents, including some with the special designation of "sensitive compartmented information," a category meant to protect the country's most important secrets. 

Today, we're speaking to Aaron Blake, senior political reporter for the Washington Post, about what we've learned since the law enforcement agency's search, and what we still don't know. 

Today in history: August 17

1904: Ford of Canada begins building cars in a converted wagon works in Walkerville, near Windsor, Ont. The first Model C rolled out of the factory in late September. 

1975: The Soviet nuclear-powered icebreaker Artika becomes the first surface ship to reach the North Pole.

1992: Rev. Stan McKay, a Cree man from north of Winnipeg, is elected the first Indigenous moderator of the United Church of Canada.

2008: U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps becomes the first person to win eight gold medals at a single Olympic games, teaming with three others to win the 4x100 medley relay at the Beijing Games. Phelps beat the previous record of seven held by Mark Spitz.

With files from The Canadian Press, The Associated Press and Reuters

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