In the story idea I'm working on, I'm using the polandball/polish space marines meme as a starting point for the titular space-faring organization. In the story, the meme exists as a way to cast doubt over whether Poland actually has a working space program.
The problem is, how would the Polish government (from anytime starting let's say in the 1990s to the near future (2040s?)) be able to get a spacecraft into space and out of Earth's orbit without anyone (including its own citizens) knowing about it? It would be easy to see a rocket being launched, and there are satellites and radars everywhere. The US/Russia/etc might also mistake the spacecraft for an ICBM launch or something of the sort. With all of the expenses involved with launching the spacecraft, how would the Polish government explain where the money went to its citizens? How would the government keep those who were involved in the program from talking about it? How would they recruit astronauts?
As far as what's being launched into space, the polish space marines are looking to establish a fleet of ships that would stay in space permanently; the astronauts would also never return to Earth. To do this they would also require a lot of equipment to grow food, manufacture new equipment, build new ships, etc. To get all of this stuff into space, you can launch one large ship or many small ships, but they have to get into space and out of Earth's orbit without being detected.
The ultimate goal would be to have a fleet of ships that can reach the asteroid belt to hide in, and to mine raw materials from to expand even more.