The history and background of the Large Deployable Reflector (LDR) are reviewed. The results of the June 1982 Asilomar (California) workshop are incorporated into the LDR science objectives and telescope concept. The areas where the LDR may have the greatest scientific impact are in the study of star formation and planetary systems in our own and nearby galaxies and in cosmological studies of the structure and evolution of the early universe. The observational requirements for these and other scientific studies give rise to a set of telescope functional requirements. These, in turn, are satisfied by an LDR configuration which is a Cassegrain design with a 20 m diameter, actively controlled, segmented, primary reflector, diffraction limited at a wavelength of 30 to 50 um. Technical challenges in the LDR development include construction of high tolerance mirror segments, surface figure measurement, figure control, vibration control, pointing, cryogenics, and coherent detectors. Project status and future plans for the LDR are discussed.