China successfully launched the Tiangong 1, or “Heavenly Palace,” on Thursday, bringing the country one step closer to its goal of a long-term manned space station, Reuters reported. The small, unmanned “space lab” took off from its launch pad in western Gansu province. The craft will later attempt to link up with another unmanned craft China plans to launch, and will practice docking in anticipation of a future Chinese space station around 2020. However, experts caution that China still has a ways to go before catching up with US and Russian space technology: A separate rocket malfunctioned on launch last month. The Tiangong launch, coming just before China’s National Day holiday, was touted in local media as a demonstration of China’s growing technological and economic prowess. “Its name… speaks for a dream home the Chinese have long envisioned in the sky,” state media reported.