The Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST) will be an 8 m deployable telescope, radiatively cooled to 30 K and diffraction-limited at 2 μm, operating at the Sun-Earth Lagrangian point L2. It will be built by a partnership of NASA, ESA, and CSA (Canadian Space Agency). The camera sensitivity should be limited by the zodiacal light for wavelengths < 10 μm. The main scientific objectives are the study of the origin and evolution of galaxies, stars, and planets, beginning with the first luminous objects to form from the Big Bang. Other objectives include studies of dark matter, supernovae, the intergalactic medium, gamma ray bursts, star ages, and exobiology. The telescope will be operated like the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) by the Space Telescope Science Institute, with all observing programs openly solicited and selected by peer review.
The NGST scientific requirements originated with the report of the Dressler Committee HST & Beyond. The instruments recommended by the Ad Hoc Science Working Group (ASWG) include 1) a wide field near infrared (NIR) camera with an 8K2 detector array covering 0.6 - 5 μm, 2) a multi-object NIR spectrograph capable of simultaneously observing > 100 objects with a resolution of R (λ/δλ) = 1000, and 3) a combined mid-infrared (MIR) camera and spectrograph from 5-27 μm, with a resolution of R > 1500.