Donald Edward McQuown, 66, a retired contract compliance officer at the Goddard Space Flight Center of NASA, died of cancer Thursday at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring.

He joined NASA in 1961 and worked with the Apollo manned space flight program beofre retiring in 1966.

Mr. McQuown entered the Navy in 1942 and was employed in the design of radio, radar and sonar equipment in the electronics division of the Bureau of Ships during World War II.

After his discharge from military service in 1946, he continued in the same work as a civilian employe of the Bureau of Ships until joining NASA.

He was born in Washington, Pa., and grew up in Donegal Township, Pa. After graduating from Washington and Jefferson College in 1935, he came here to work for the Treasury Department. He was with the War Production Board before entering the Navy.

Mr. McQuown was a member of Lebanon Lodge No. 7 of the Masons, the Southern Consistory and Almas Temple of the Shriners. He belonged to Woodside United Methodist Church in Silver Spring.

He is survived by his wife, Tracy, of the home in Silver Spring; two sons, Thomas H., of Woodbridge, and James E., of Germantown, Tenn., and three grandsons.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy may be in the form of contributions to the American Cancer Society.