North Korea's missile caught on satellite camera

North Korea missile
The missile's trail, as photographed from space. Photo credit: Planet Lab

North Korea's latest missile launch this week was timed perfectly with the passing of an overhead satellite camera.

The rogue state's latest test saw a short-range missile fired into the sea last weekend.

But Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un probably won't be thrilled to discover a high-quality photograph showing the trail from the rocket was captured by Earth-imaging company Planet Labs.

"Damn improbable, but if we take [more than a] million images [a] day, we'll get one-in-a-million shots," tweeted co-founder Will Marshall.

Experts told CNN the trail was almost certainly made by a ballistic missile.

"The location of the launch, the thick, smoky appearance of the exhaust and the fact that there is only one rocket trail all suggest this was the short-range ballistic missile that North Korea showed in its propaganda," said East Asia Nonproliferation Program director Jeffrey Lewis.

While North Korea hasn't tested any nuclear-capable missiles since 2017, Lewis said this could be a stepping stone to bigger things, with talks between the North and the US stalling.

"It's a warning that there's more to come," he told CNN.