LOFT, the large observatory for X-ray timing, is a new mission concept competing with other four candidates for a launch opportunity in 2022-2024. LOFT will be performing high-time resolution X-ray observations of compact objects, combining for the first time an unprecedented large collecting area for X-ray photons and a spectral resolution approaching that of CCD-based X-ray instruments (down to 200 eV FWHM at 6 keV). The operating energy range is 2-80 keV. The main science goals of LOFT are the measurement of the neutron stars equation of states and the test of General Relativity in the strong field regime. The breakthrough capabilities of the instruments on-board LOFT will permit to open also new discovery windows for a wide range of Galactic and extragalactic X-ray sources.
In this contribution, we provide a general description of the mission concept and summarize its main scientific capabilities.