After long deliberation, KSP Command determined that the existing plan to put boots on the surface of Laythe was not optimal. It is possible, though nothing has been proved, that the arguments against the prior mission profile written up by the engineers consisted entirely of a string of communications from high-Kerbin orbit which somehow managed to sway Command. Mostly, these rumors rely on the fact that no one thought to question Hadrie Kerbin about his excessive use of the communication equipment every time Lemdon and Harsey were sleeping.
The Laythe lander/skycrane monstrosity was mothballed. However, pulling things out of orbit seemed like a lot of work, so Command decided to leave it up there in case someone thought of a different planet or moon to send it toward.
The engineers got to work on a new idea. Rather than send a single rover, they would design a small fleet of vessels designed to land – or at least land portions of them – and not return, leaving them on the surface as a place for the Colonists to visit and live on the surface of Laythe. The “village” would be supported by the growing orbital station, and would grant the crew some elbow room.
Uncharacteristically, the design team made extensive use of test protocols that had been worked out years before, but never implemented. The first step was identifying the key components each structure would provide for the village, and focus on keeping extraneous equipment for its proper place. This was followed by a long series of test flights. The design called for each component – essentially a building – to be flown to Laythe, and dropped to the surface with a combination of parachutes, and a thrust “cap” inspired by the skycrane design from the previous Laythe lander (which would detach and fly off once the module landed safely).
An eager go-getter named Shepgee Kerman was dragooned into the role of the first official test pilot for the Laythe mission. His enthusiasm was dampened by the knowledge that the landings would be handled remotely, and his sole responsibility would be to test the survivability of the design. Fortunately, and despite the heavy odds in the office betting pool, everything worked out fine for Shepgee.
So all was well. The village would consist of (at least) one or more residence modules, a science station, a lab for processing experimental results, and a rover of some kind. (Oh, wait! We still have one of those in orbit!)
The project got under way, with the first residence module launched into a parking orbit to wait for a heavy thrust stage to meet it for the journey to Laythe. There were a few hiccups along the way. The first attempt to launch the residence module shook itself apart in the upper atmosphere, and the corrections made for the second launch were… incorrect.
None-the-less, the module was eventually launched successfully, and after a top-off from one of the refueling tugs in orbit, the Laythe village project was ready to move along.