The Spanish region of Catalonia saw its first nanosatellite launched successfully into orbit on Monday, with local politicians hoping it will not be the last.

The small satellite was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, famed for sending the first satellite (Sputnik 1) and the first human mission manned by Yuri Gagarin into orbit.

While Catalonia’s space ambitions may not match those of the Soviet Union’s, the symbolism of the launch site remains relevant. The region, ruled by pro-independence leaders, hopes their participation in the space race will further distinguish Catalonia from Spain.

The region’s government, which announced last October it will be creating its own space agency – “the Catalan NASA” – calculates the industry will create 1,200 jobs over the next four years.

The first nanosatellite is named Enxaneta, which refers to the final person to climb up and crown the iconic Catalan human towers. It will be used to connect Internet of Things (IoT) devices across Catalonia and enable connectivity in rural areas lacking coverage.

“This is a big day for Catalonia. We’re helping to build a country of opportunities and progress for all,” Catalonia’s Digital Policy Minister Jordi Puignero told local broadcaster RAC1.

“We’re a country that must spend money on helping people in need, but we should also be a country that bets on projects for economic growth like this. We won’t be a socially stable 21st-century country if we’re not a digital country,” he said.

The Catalan government’s announcement that it would be investing €2.5 million ($3 million) to establish the space agency and a further €18 million ($21.5 million) to launch satellites as the pandemic crippled the region’s economy was harshly criticized.

The idea was also lambasted for being more political than scientific. Spain is already part of the much larger European Space Agency, which has an annual budget of €6.5 billion ($7.8 billion).

Puignero publicly criticized an article that called the nanosatellite “Spanish” last week.

He said Catalonia plans on “launching a constellation of satellites” into orbit. Over the next three years, the goal is to launch at least six.