Japanese astronaut Wakata set to make his first spacewalk

Japanese astronaut Wakata Koichi is set to make his first spacewalk outside the International Space Station.

Wakata, and an astronaut from the US space agency NASA, will venture outside the ISS shortly past 13:00 UTC on Friday.

The pair will assemble mounting brackets to install roll-out solar arrays. The work is expected to take more than six hours.

Wakata will become the fifth Japanese astronaut to walk in space. He wrote in Japanese on Twitter last Saturday that he was carrying out preparatory work for his spacewalk.

A SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying Wakata and others arrived at the ISS in October, after departing from the Kennedy Space Center in the US state of Florida.

Wakata is at the ISS conducting experiments to prepare for human expeditions to the Moon and Mars.

A spacewalk by two Russian cosmonauts was postponed in December due to a cooling fluid leak from a Russian spacecraft docked at the ISS.

But the activity later resumed as NASA and Russian space officials said the leakage did not pose any risk to the ISS crew.