Innovative optical designs are needed to create the space sensor systems of the future. The NASA mission development process has created several very challenging design and engineering problems. Three of these are discussed: The SAFIR is a 15 to 25 meter clear aperture telescope cooled to 4 degrees Kelvin, with spectrographs and imaging systems cooled to 1 degree Kelvin. The Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) will detect and characterize planets in orbit about other stars, The Stellar Interferometer (SI) will image across the surfaces of distant stars. Issues related to optical design & engineering and image quality will be discussed. This paper reviews the optical systems and engineering needs for next generation astrophysics missions.