The Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), a NASA MIDEX mission, will survey the entire sky in four bands from 3.3 to 23 microns with a sensitivity 1000 times greater than the IRAS survey. The WISE survey will extend the Two Micron All Sky Survey into the thermal infrared and will provide an important catalog for the James Webb Space Telescope. Using 10242 HgCdTe and Si:As arrays at 3.3, 4.7, 12 and 23 microns, WISE will find the most luminous galaxies in the universe, the closest stars to the Sun, and it will detect most of the main belt asteroids larger than 3 km. The single WISE instrument consists of a 40 cm diamond-turned aluminum afocal telescope, a two-stage solid hydrogen cryostat, a scan mirror mechanism, and reimaging optics giving 5" resolution (full-width-half-maximum). The use of dichroics and beamsplitters allows four color images of a 47'x47' field of view to be taken every 8.8 seconds, synchronized with the orbital motion to provide total sky coverage with overlap between revolutions. WISE will be placed into a Sun-synchronous polar orbit on a Delta 7320-10 launch vehicle. The WISE survey approach is simple and efficient. The three-axis-stabilized spacecraft rotates at a constant rate while the scan mirror freezes the telescope line of sight during each exposure. WISE is currently in its Preliminary Design Phase, with the mission Preliminary Design Review scheduled for July, 2005. WISE is scheduled to launch in mid 2009; the project web site can be found at www.wise.ssl.berkeley.edu.