NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission, launched on January 31, 2015, makes high-resolution, frequent revisit global mapping of surface soil moisture and its freeze/thaw state based on its unique coincident L-band radiometer and L-band radar measurements. The early period of science data acquisition contains the intense calibration and validation phase. Early beta geophysical data products release is scheduled for November 2015. Validated data are due after one year of calibration and validation. The instrument data products (Level 1) are released on a more accelerated schedule. The data are public and accessible at designated open data archives (National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, CO and the Alaska Satellite Facility in Fairbanks, AK). This special session includes presentations on the status of the SMAP observatory, reports on calibration and validation, and early science results. The session also include presentations on SMAPVEX15 and SMAPEx-4 airborne field campaigns, in Arizona and New South Wales, Australia respectively, that deploy airborne active and passive SMAP instrument simulators during several weeks in Summer 2015. The field campaigns fly the airborne instruments during SMAP overpasses and also include teams collecting ground-truth observations. The SMAP project has developed pre-launch collaborations with applied science and operational users who require soil moisture information in their decision-support systems. These include Numerical Weather Prediction, operational flash-flood and main-stem flood forecasting, and drought monitoring among others. The special session will include contributions from early users of SMAP observations about the impact of the new data stream on their operations. The special session is in line with the “Earth System Science in Service to Society” theme of the 96th Annual AMS Meeting.