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  1. We describe the design motivation, architecture, deployment, and early operations of Expanse, a 5 Petaflop, heterogenous HPC system that entered production as an NSF-funded resource in December 2020 and will be operated on behalf of the national community for five years. Expanse will serve a broad range of computational science and engineering through a combination of standard batch-oriented services, and by extending the system to the broader CI ecosystem through science gateways, public cloud integration, support for high throughput computing, and composable systems. Expanse was procured, deployed, and put into production entirely during the COVID-19 pandemic, adhering to stringent public health guidelines throughout. Nevertheless, the planned production date of October 1, 2020 slipped by only two months, thanks to thorough planning, a dedicated team of technical and administrative experts, collaborative vendor partnerships, and a commitment to getting an important national computing resource to the community at a time of great need.