The White House has said it is "highly regrettable" that North Korea chose to launch a missile, which is in violation of its international obligations.
At the State Department briefing US State Spokesperson Victoria Nuland said: "This will only serve to further isolate the North Korean regime.
"It's not going to do anything to help the poor and suffering North Korean people, it's only going to further impoverish them."
The last launch by North Korea was in April, at the time the US strongly condemned it and said there would be consequences.
Consultations began in the Security Council this morning on what those consequences would be Victoria Nuland said: "We expect there will be strong expressions there".