OK here is the deal with the space shuttle. It has three rocket engines in the back, but there's absolutely no room inside for all the fuel it needs to launch itself up into space. All of that fuel is stored outside the shuttle, in the big brown cylinder, called the external tank.
The tank containing all the rocket fuel weighs seven times more than the space shuttle itself! That's a lot of really heavy fuel, and the space shuttle engines aren't quite strong enough to push the combined weight of the shuttle and the big bloated external tank up off the ground.
That's what the two long white solid rocket boosters strapped onto the sides of the external tank are for. They lift the tank! Fortunately, it was not necessary to strap an infinite series of smaller and smaller rockets to the sides of the solid rocket boosters.
It is not widely known that just behind the main flight deck of the space shuttle is a small Starbucks adapted for use in zero gravity.