One of the instruments on the International X-ray Observatory (IXO), under study with NASA, ESA and JAXA, is the X-ray Microcalorimeter Spectrometer (XMS). This instrument, which will provide high spectral resolution images, is based on X-ray micro-calorimeters with Transition Edge Sensor thermometers. The pixels have metallic X-ray absorbers and are read-out by multiplexed SQUID electronics. The requirements for this instrument are demanding. In the central array (40 x 40 pixels) an energy resolution of < 2.5 eV is required, whereas the energy resolution of the outer array is more relaxed (≈ 10 eV) but the detection elements have to be a factor 16 larger in order to keep the number of read-out channels acceptable for a cryogenic instrument. Due to the large collection area of the IXO optics, the XMS instrument must be capable of processing high counting rates, while maintaining the spectral resolution and a low deadtime. In addition, an anti-coincidence detector is required to suppress the particle-induced background. In this paper we will summarize the instrument status and performance. We will describe the results of design studies for the focal plane assembly and the cooling systems. Also the system and its required spacecraft resources will be given.© (2010) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.