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That's kind of odd, to me, since the Russians aren't that much more expensive than SpaceX, and the pricey bit is usually the payload.

The Russians are only at that price point due to the competition from SpaceX, but the big problem with Proton is the high insurance premiums due to their reliability issues.

Does anyone know what Proton insurance costs these days?

Perhaps it was a combination of low price (even lower since they got a re-used first stage) as well as the option to go rather soon (again, due to the re-used first stage). Don't know how full other launch providers' manifests are at this point.

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