DATE=2/16/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=SHUTTLE WEDNESDAY (L-UPDATE) (CQ) NUMBER=2-259238 BYLINE=DAVID MCALARY DATELINE=WASHINGTON CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: U-S space shuttle controllers say they have saved almost enough fuel aboard the orbiter Endeavour to allow the radar mapping mission to continue as planned. As V-O-A Science Correspondent David McAlary reports, the mapping is proceeding smoothly. TEXT: Two shuttle radar systems continue to pelt the Earth with 15-hundred beacons a second, to develop the world's most detailed three-dimensional topographical map. U-S space agency scientist Earnest Paylor says the instruments had covered 82-million square kilometers of terrain as of early Wednesday -- about two-thirds of the mission's goal. /// PAYLOR ACT /// That's equivalent to roughly North America, South America, Africa and Australia. So we're doing a great job, and the data collection is progressing absolutely on schedule, and we've missed no data takes that we've wanted to acquire. /// END ACT /// Meanwhile, technicians are carrying out subtle changes in Endeavour's flight maneuvers to save fuel, to allow the mapping mission to reach its full planned duration of nine days and nine hours. The fuel adjustments are necessary because the orbiter has had to fire its jet thrusters more often than planned, to help keep the 60-meter radar mast steady. The mast's own stabilizing thruster has failed. Mission official Milt Heflin says technicians have been working hard devising fuel-saving possibilities, and are close to knowing whether they have enough left to prevent the mission from ending one day early. /// HEFLIN ACT /// We're basically sharpening our pencils as best as we can, and somebody I heard ... this morning said, "Yeah, we may go all the way down to the erasers as well." But we're going to eventually get there. So I hope to come here tomorrow and tell you that we've finished that story, but we're almost there. /// END ACT /// One fuel-saving tactic being considered, if necessary, is to eliminate the slow roll that shuttles perform shortly before landing. The roll exposes all sides of the orbiter to the sun so it warms evenly. This keeps tire pressures the same and eliminates the chance the spacecraft's shape will distort because of unequal temperatures. If the fuel-saving efforts are sufficient, the mission will meet its goal of mapping nearly 80 percent of Earth's land surfaces by Sunday. (Signed) NEB/DEM/WTW 16-Feb-2000 17:39 PM EDT (16-Feb-2000 2239 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .