A wide field space-based imaging telescope is necessary to fully exploit the technique of observing dark matter via weak gravitational lensing. This first paper in a three part series outlines the survey strategies and relevant instrumental parameters for such a mission. As a concrete example of hardware design, we consider the proposed Supernova/Acceleration Probe (SNAP). Using SNAP engineering models, we quantify the major contributions to this telescope's Point Spread Function (PSF). These PSF contributions are relevant to any similar wide field space telescope. We further show that the PSF of SNAP or a similar telescope will be smaller than current ground-based PSFs, and more isotropic and stable over time than the PSF of the Hubble Space Telescope. We outline survey strategies for two different regimes - a "wide" 300 square degree survey and a "deep" 15 square degree survey that will accomplish various weak lensing goals including statistical studies and dark matter mapping.