The Fizeau Interferometer Testbed (FIT) is a ground-based laboratory experiment at Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) designed to develop and test technologies that will be needed for future interferometric spacecraft missions. Specifically, the research from this experiment is a proof-of-concept for optical accuracy and stability, closed-loop control algorithms, optimal sampling methodology of the Fourier UV-plane, computational models for system performance, and image synthesis techniques for a sparse array of 7 to 30 mirrors. It will assess and refine the technical requirements on hardware, control, and imaging algorithms for the Stellar Imager (SI), its pathfinder mission, and other sparse aperture and interferometric imaging mission concepts. This ground-based optical system is a collaborative effort between NASA's GSFC, Sigma Space Corporation, the Naval Research Laboratory, and the University of Maryland. We present an overview of the FIT design goals and explain their associated validation methods. We further document the design requirements and provide a status on their completion. Next, we show the overall FIT design, including the optics and data acquisition process. We discuss the technologies needed to insure success of the testbed as well as for an entire class of future mission concepts. Finally, we compare the expected performance to the actual performance of the testbed using the initial array of seven spherical mirrors. Currently, we have aligned and phased all seven mirrors, demonstrated excellent system stability for extended periods of time, and begun open-loop operations using "pinhole" light sources. Extended scenes and calibration masks are being fabricated and will shortly be installed in the source module. Installation of all the different phase retrieval/diversity algorithms and control software is well on the way to completion, in preparation for future tests of closed-loop operations.