The past three decades have seen an explosion in high-energy astrophysics. We have found X-ray astronomy to be an indispensable tool in understanding our Universe. The discipline has become mature, and future X-ray observatories must be more highly specialized. High-resolution spectroscopic imaging in the band above 2 keV, systematically exploited by ASCA, has led to much new astrophysical knowledge. ASCA has also been playing a particularly important role in studying sources hidden behind dense material. Astro-E, the successor of ASCA, is scheduled for launch in the year 2000 by the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) with its newly developed M-V rocket (Ogawara & Inoue 1997). Our new Astro-E observatory features high energy resolution and high sensitivity over the broad energy range 0.5 keV to 600 keV. The general emphasis of the observatory is to provide large collecting areas at higher energies, with angular resolution good enough to avoid the confusion limit. This paper provides a brief description of the performance of the Astro-E instruments.