Mr Francois was shown around the ballistic missile early warning site at RAF Fylingdales in Yorkshire, which plays a vital role in monitoring space for missiles, satellites and other debris on behalf of both the UK and US governments.
Mr Francois also took the opportunity to speak to a number of the men and women that work at the RAF station helping to keep Britain safe.
Mr Francois said:
This is the fiftieth year of ballistic missile early warning operations at RAF Fylingdales and to meet the men and women who perform such a vital role in the defence of the UK and her allies was a real privilege.
With its personnel and sophisticated systems maintaining a constant vigil for missile threats and space debris, RAF Fylingdales continues to play a unique and essential role in maintaining safety and security in an uncertain world.
These people help to keep us safe 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-a-year and we are proud of what they do.
Wing Commander Rayna Owens, RAF Fylingdales Station Commander, said:
We were delighted to welcome Mr Francois to the station and show him the valuable work that our personnel do every day.
RAF Fylingdales is a vital cog in the UK’s defences and our people work 24/7 to ensure we know what’s out there.
RAF Fylingdales has been at the cutting-edge of the development of space surveillance and analysis since it opened 50 years ago, integrating contractors into operations.
The team play a vital role globally as they also contribute to the US Space Surveillance Network through the Joint Space Operations Centre at Vandenberg Air Force Base.