The Space Infrared telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics (SPICA) is planned to be the next space astronomy mission observing in the infrared. The mission is planned to be launched in 2017 and will feature a 3.5 m telescope cooled to <5 K through the use of mechanical coolers. These coolers will also cool the focal plane instruments thus avoiding the use of consumables and giving the mission a long lifetime. SPICA’s large, cold aperture will provide a two order of magnitude sensitivity advantage over current far infrared facilities (>30 microns wavelength). We describe the scientific advances that will be made possible by this large increase in sensitivity and give details of the mission, spacecraft and focal plane conceptual design.